The concept of dessert does not necessarily need to involve sugar. Dessert could be considered as a contrasting taste to a main course, perhaps a palate cleanser — or, the opposite, a nice flavor to last after a meal.

For example, consider cheese. Cheese, nuts, and fruit (the latter with natural, not added, sugars) can comprise a healthy, yet tasty, conclusion to lunch or dinner (or, obviously, for snacking that doesn’t involve candy); Google “cheese nuts fruit dessert” and you’ll see what I mean. If you want a solid dessert cheese choice in the Chippewa Valley — particularly during June Dairy Month — one of your best moves would be to slice some Cranberry Gouda from Marieke Gouda:

A slice of Gouda with the ribbed rind.

Marieke Gouda has become legendary in western Wisconsin in the relatively recent past, what with all their award-winning cheese. They now have House Of Gouda in the former Pier 1 Imports building across from Oakwood Mall. Inside, you’ll find lots of their cheese in the middle island, with many other accoutrements elsewhere that go well with cheese (including a good number of food imports).

On a recent day, my family stopped by, and I went looking for cheese for this blog. Really, any Marieke Gouda cheese would work, but I figured the Cranberry Gouda stood out to me as the version most apropos: a combination of cheese and dried fruit. Later on, I had this cheese after lunch, alternating with cherries; the strong-yet-creamy flavor of the Gouda (accentuated by the cranberry) matched well with the sweet-yet-tart flavor of the cherries. This was exactly the dessert I had in mind after finding the Cranberry Gouda — a good follow to a peanut butter sandwich (there’s your nuts), and a healthy conclusion to this food setting.

Gouda cubes.

When you go to House Of Gouda — and you should if you haven’t — you’ll also get a kind of ice cream not commonly found in the 715, yet very much from Wisconsin: Fond Du Lac’s Kelley Country Creamery. I had a dish of Pitchfork Pistachio, and not only did I very much enjoy it, but I discovered that my daughter likes the taste of pistachio (even if via ice cream). You have a lot of choices at House Of Gouda. Just make sure you get the Gouda — you may end up having it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and every dessert in between.

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