Jess – my number-one craft helper from the wedding – and I held a strategy meeting last night to discuss what we wanted to make this year for Christmas gifts and decorations. You’d think we would be tired of crafting after making hundreds of tissue paper pom-poms, but Jess has craftiness in her blood and, quite frankly, the fact that we DID make hundreds of tissue paper pom-poms sort of breathed some inspiration into my non-creative brain.

Because this was a strategy meeting and not an actual work night, we did some tasting and sampling of a few products as well. Once we finished our dinner of Jess’s delicious homemade butternut squash soup (sweet curry powder made it so warm and tasty for a cold, rainy night), we settled down with a couple Michigan-made products.

We began with Zingerman’s Great Lakes Cheshire cheese. The Cheshire was another one of those too-small-for-the-shelves cheese scores I’ve been having such luck with lately.

Made at the Creamery, the Cheshire is a hard, cow’s milk cheese made in a Welsh style that the cheesemaker apparently learned 25 years ago. Jess and I found the taste to match the description: crumbly, a little tangy, with some real earthiness to it. It is a very full-flavored cheese.

Great Lakes Cheshire

Our second Michigan-made tasting product was the “Fizz” sparkling wine from Mawby Vineyards in Traverse City. Mawby makes all sparkling wines. We visited their winery on our Labor Day trip to Traverse City. Noe and I liked their Sandpiper so much we ordered two cases to use for the toast at our wedding reception. I hadn’t tried the Fizz yet, so when I saw it on a recent shopping trip to Whole Foods, I picked it up.


The Fizz lived up to its name, being very fun and fizzy on the tongue, but it didn’t really have any depth of flavor behind it. Fairly dry, it was just kind of fun, fizzy, and gone. There was nothing wrong with it, but I’d rather have a bit more flavor to round things out. (However, this might be a very good mixer for Mimosas or Cherry Blossoms  – the Dev’s on Bank Street name for a Mimosa made with cranberry juice rather than orange juice).

Jess and I may not have gotten a lot of work done (we later got distracted by Gwyneth Paltrow’s guest spot on “Glee”), but we had a ton of fun with our little impromptu Michigan product tasting. Do you have any favorite local products? We’d love to try them…


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