By Krishan Narsinghani
Wisconsin is known for their cheese and ice creams. A major food one may overlook is the Wisconsin cranberry. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to visit their tourism team for an exploration of lodging, dining, cranberry wonders and more.
The trip began at the Osthoff Resort at Elkhart Lake, a quaint fairytale land that makes a city kid feel free. The plot roots back to the age of the Potawatomi Native American Tribe, where the area still inhibits the same wholistic lifestyle. In 1885, the Osthoff Resort was built by Auto Osthoff and reimagined 100 years later to the four Diamond AAA rated majestic lodge guests see today. The 248 room boasts 1, 2, and 3-bedroom suites that fancy a kitchen (or kitchenette) and an individual private balcony. The grand hotel is the perfect family getaway, especially in the Summer. With a three-tear lake deck and Mirror Lake, there’s no disappointment when it comes to adult and kid-friendly activities.The deck includes a bar, live entertainment along with water sports open to guests and the public – aqua cycles, power boats, sailboats and pontoon cruises.
The resort offers a handful of different restaurants to try, Lola’s On The Lake being the choice for media on their first night. Lola’s infuses their dishes with fresh ingredients from the Osthoff Gardens that harvest over 11,000 pounds of produce including edible flowers available in 2019. It’s a farm to table atmosphere while the menu is consistently changes. 360’s personal favorite was the Rib Eye Steak Special with Potato Donuts. This mouth-watering meal introduced savory and sweet for new flavors that will wow your tastebuds.
360 Magazine enjoyed an afternoon cooking class inspired from their wellness menu that featured nutrient dense and natural sugar items. The foods prepared are purposely chosen so more guests with dietary restrictions can participate and indulge. Courses included a Lemon and Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding, Overnight Oats, Egg Shakshuka (Baked Eggs with Feta, Garden Tomato Sauce and Cilantro) and a Quinoa Salad with Halibut. The Shakshuka wafted aromatic Middle Eastern flavors that start your pallet off right and finishes with a taste of creamy tomato sauce and powerful spices.
Others enjoyed a natural spa and wellness treatment at Aspira, which translates to “infused with spirit.” Guests rejuvenate themselves through a variety of specials such as the meditation sanctuary that binds water from Elkhart Lake and hydrating cranberry facials.
In 1857, Wisconsin birthed Steven’s Point Brewery, the third-oldest independently owned and continuously operating brewhouse in the United States. The guided tour and tasting throughout the facility showcased new craft beers and history that withstood the Civil War, prohibition and The Great Depression. Their pilot brewing system has the capacity to make ten barrels of beer at one time essentially creating a microbrewery inside of a craft brewery. Enjoy a refreshing pineapple flavor, white chocolate stout or Octoberfest.
Ride along Cranberry Highway to Gottschalk Cranberry Marsh to witness a breathtaking sea of red fruits. Throughout the Fall season, visitors can drive around 50 miles of these beds from Wisconsin Rapids to Warrens. This antioxidant rich treat is grown on low running vines at bogs and later flooded with water. The berries float to the top and are harvested by picking machines. Local restaurants like Great Expectations (originally a fully women-owned business) incorporate these cranberries into nearly all their dishes. These partnerships make for signature items like their House-Made Ginger-Cranberry Moscow Mule and Unforgettable Grilled Cheese with Cran-Pepper Jam.
One of America’s favorite juices, Ocean Spray, is headquartered on a 70 acre manufacturing facility. Producing 3.6 millions gallons of concentrate a year, the company utilizes a complex system. Wisconsin will produce 5.9 million barrels of cranberries in 2018 making so called, “America’s Dairyland,” the nation’s No. 1 cranberry producer.
Overall, 360 left with a delightful taste and an aura revitalized. When visiting Wisconsin, come prepared with an empty stomach and an open mind for well-deserved Midwestern hospitality.