Did someone say award winning cheese, lobster mash, and fried cheese curds? Where can you eat all these things? Maybe you are thinking France, the East Coast, or Wisconsin.
One name comes to my mind―Faribault, Minnesota.
Foodie Stops on the Minne-Roadtrip in Faribault
The Cheese Cave
The Cheese Cave, an artisan cheese shop and café, is a must for cheese lovers. My guide ordered the Caves of Faribault cheese plate with St. Pete’s Select blue cheese, Jeffs’ Select Gouda, St. Mary’s gouda, and Fini cheddar. What is so special about these cheeses? They are all aged in St. Peter sandstone caves along the Cannon River. The caves created AmaBlu, the “home of the first commercial blue cheese plant in the United States.” How cool is that?! Paired with our cheese plate was Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery‘s Marquette Reserve, a medium-bodied and berry-toned Minnesota wine. On top of that, I had a heavenly Caves grilled cheese made with Jeffs’ Select Gouda and St. Mary’s gouda. The cafe also serves hor ‘d oeuvres, wraps, salads, pizza and for dessert an Amablu cheesecake.
If you want to try or buy other cheese, no problem. Their gourmet store sells over 40 premium kinds of cheese, and you can have it shipped, so it’s waiting for you when you return home.
Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t allow cave tours anymore, but you can ask them to play the cave tour video while you dine, or watch it here. (For more information and recipes check out the Caves of Faribault website.)
What is fascinating about the caves is that the sandstone absorbs the elements within it. A portion of the cheese caves used to be a brewery, and they say the walls store the memory and aromas of those days, like the yeast and grains, which then are passed onto their cheeses.
Where: 318 Central Ave. N. #6, Faribault, MN 55021
What: Lunch, Dinner
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Depot Bar & Grill
Before we went to the Depot Bar & Grill, I had heard about their fabulous lobster mash. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I thought, eh, lobster in Minnesota surely won’t be that great. Then I thought, lobster mash, that’s an odd combo. Boy, was I wrong. The super buttery mash was loaded with fresh lobster chunks. It was like eating lobster dipped in butter. A match, or should I say mash, made for each other.
Now, let’s have a chat about fried cheese curds. Growing up in Illinois and Indiana I’d never heard of such a thing, only the greasy, heavy, fried mozzarella sticks which sat in your gut for days after you ate them. These fried cheese curds were so light you could plunk them in your mouth like popcorn. And, they came on a newspaper liner which gave it an old-school feel.
Where: 311 Heritage Place, Faribault, MN 55021
What: Lunch, Dinner, Bar
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Travel Tip: From the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport Faribault is a 51-minute drive.
join Part 3 of Foodie Stops on the Minnie-Roadtrip in Northfield, MN
(For each Southern Minnesota town, I picked two foodie stops you don’t want to miss. There will be other foodie stops listed in future Minne-Roadtrip posts about where to stay and what to do, so be sure to come back and read more.)