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Green County Tourism receives grant for Swiss-consin Cheese Passport
Layne and Maddie Millard sampling fondue made by Chef Mike Nevil at Chalet Landhaus in New Glarus.

MONROE — Green County Tourism has been awarded a $25,548 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.  Grant funding will support a sales promotion attracting travelers to Green County for an “eat, drink, yodel” experience. The key feature of the promotion with Travel Wisconsin is development of a mobile/digital “Cheesy Passport to Green County Swiss-consin.”

The Cheesy Passport to Green County Swiss-consin will feature around 50 “check-in” locations, including cheese factory stores and cheese-related experiences. 

“The passport concept will inspire exploration of the culinary delights of the world,” said Green County Tourism Director Noreen Rueckert.

She pointed out that most varieties of cheese made in Green County originated elsewhere. Havarti, native to Denmark, crafted at Decatur Dairy in Brodhead; Limburger, with roots in a region of what is now Belgium, produced at Monroe’s Chalet Cheese Cooperative; and Gruyere, born in France and made at Emmi Roth in Monroe.  

“We’re a bit of a melting pot here,” said Rueckert, “just like Swiss cheese fondue.”

In addition to strictly cheesy check-ins, the passport will highlight the idea of pairing cheese with beer, wine, and spirits with check-ins at breweries, wineries and distilleries. The passport will encourage restaurant visits to try cheese-centric menu items like fondue, raclette, and local deep-fried cheese curds — either made in house with Green County cheese, or locally sourced from Monticello Northside Fried Cheese.  

As passport holders accumulate points, they become eligible for prizes like branded swag or prize drawings. The grand prize package is an overnight stay and fondue dinner courtesy of Chalet Landhaus in New Glarus, and a “create your own cheese board kit” featuring locally crafted cheese, branded cheese board with cheese tools, and classic Green County tastes like landjaegers, petit fours, and Blumer’s root beer. Suggestions will be provided on pairing selected cheeses with cured meats, sweets, nuts and fruits.

The Cheesy Passport campaign will target travelers in Rockford and Chicago in Illinois, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque in Iowa, and southern Wisconsin including the Madison area. The marketing plan for the passport includes online advertising and social media, print media with direct distribution of rack cards to households in the north Chicago suburbs, and radio advertising. The campaign directly aligns with Travel Wisconsin’s focus on food, drink, and dining experiences that are steeped in craft culture.

Green County Tourism will team up with Green County Cheese Days volunteers to kick off the Cheesy Passport to Green County Swiss-consin at the Beer, Bacon, and Cheese Fest in New Glarus on June 8. Along with an invitation to sign up for the passport, festival goers will receive samples of snack cheese, courtesy of Emmi Roth in Monroe.

“Here in Green County, we proudly celebrate artisan cheese, we happily pair that cheese with beer, wine and spirits — and along the way we add in a tasty layer of Swiss heritage and culture,” said Rueckert.  “This promotion is ideal because nothing says Green County like fondue, a local brew, and a little bit of Swiss yodel-aye-hee-hoo.”