If you've ever driven north on I-94 towards Milwaukee, you've no doubt been at least a little intrigued by the enormous, ghetto sign for the Mars Cheese Castle that appears to have been standing there, untouched, since 1953. It's impossible to miss; soaring high into the sky right next to the expressway.
I've been driving to Wisconsin on a regular basis for basically my entire life and never have I stopped at the Mars Cheese Castle. That's not to say that I didn't desperately want to. How can you not at least want to see what it's all about? But alas, I've always managed to keep on driving by. Until this weekend.
After a failed attempt to find the perfect cheese on our vacation in Door County, my cousin, a great cheese lover, decided we were desperately in need of a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle on our way home. We made our way through Milwaukee, anxiously looking for any sign of the Cheese Castle. Finally we found it, Highway 142. We got off on the small exit, passed Mike's Ghetto Cheese Stand (not the real name) and pulled up to our destination. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Inside it was significantly more crowded than I anticipated, filled with tourists scurrying about looking for their favorite cheese. And they did have every kind of cheese you could ever hope for; string cheese, cheese curds, cheddar, swiss, muenster, along with cheese in the shape of a cow, a beer bottle, or the state of Wisconsin. But that's not all! In addition to their gigantic selection of cheeses, they also offer every kind of wine you could want to go with your cheese, a deli, a bakery, and a little gift shop with some typical cow/cheese/Wisconsin themed gifts. My favorite was the large cheese shaped fart noise maker that said "Cut the Cheese" on the side. I almost bought it, but it was $12. The most disappointing thing was the sign forbidding you to actually blow into one for sanitary reasons. How can they expect anyone to spend $12 on it when you can't even preview the farting noises? I'm pretty sure I can find a cheaper source of fart noises if the need should ever arise.
By far the best part of the Mars Cheese Castle was the plethora of free samples. They offered samples of a good number of cheeses and being the cheap (frugal) person that I am, I took advantage. Then I got a little nauseous so I stopped.
Later that evening after I got home, I was watching the Food Network and much to my pleasure, they just happened to be visiting the Mars Cheese Castle! It was thrilling. It became significantly more thrilling when they showed an old lady actually blowing into one of the fart noise makers. It made my day truly complete. But I still wouldn't buy one.