THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO SQUEAK
They're basically chunks of cheese. But to someone from Wisconsin, the regional delight known as a cheese curd is so much more. Your typical cheese curd is firm, like a Cheddar, but tastes milder and slightly salty. They're kind of...springy. And the sign of a true, fresh cheese curd is that it squeaks when you chew it.* The squeakiest cheese curds are found at the Dane County Farmers' Market or at Wisconsin's own Brennan's Market where you can get flavors like garlic, cajun, or dill in addition to the standard flavors of "white" or "yellow".
As good as a cheese curd is in its native form, Wisconsin takes it one step further and deep fries them. With beer batter. And serves them with a creamy, mildly spicy sauce. Are you hungry yet? When you visit downtown Madison (or anywhere in Wisconsin really) you'll have endless options for trying deep fried cheese curds. Some locals make it a mission to try every curd in town and debate who has the best but if you're only here for a couple days and want to do your own taste test you're in luck because Madison's favorite deep fried cheese curds are all found on the Capitol Square.
- The Old Fashioned - fresh as can be, a perfectly delicious amount of grease, and lots of sauce options
- Graze - this gastropub coats theirs in a vodka batter and they're twice as big as anyone else's
- Tipsy Cow - crunchy and somehow lighter than others, Tipsy Cow dips theirs in Spotted Cow, a local brew sold only in Wisconsin
*Some people, like this author, prefer curds that are past the squeaky phase because they find the squeak a bit unnerving. And we get made fun of. Mercilessly.