A note to all the out-of-towners headed to the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Erin next week: You might want to show up hungry.
Folks here in Wisconsin are whipping up a feast for you.
One example: Milwaukee-based Purple Door Ice Cream ahas whipped up a treat specifically for the U.S. Open.
The company has created a new flavor -- the Arnie Palmer. It's tea/lemonade ice cream, said Lauren Schultz, co-owner of Purple Door. The recipe took two months to perfect.
"It's really delicious," Schultz said. "We're excited about it. It's a great way to showcase our product as well as the other local products at this international event."
The company also will have its beer and pretzel ice cream, which is made from Lakefront Brewery (based in Milwaukee) stout and chocolate covered pretzel pieces. In addition, Purple Door will have its brandy old-fashioned ice cream. (Wisconsin consumes more brandy than any other state except California, which has seven times the population of the Badger State.)
The process of building the menu began a year ago, said Andrew Chalfant, senior vice president of operations for Ridgewells Catering, a Bethesda, Md., catering company handling the food for the corporate hospitality tents at the U.S. Open.
Some of Wisconsin's tastiest specialties, ranging from sausage and kringle to cheese curds, will be featured on the menu at the U.S. Open, as food companies across the state prepare to showcase their culinary creations on a global stage."It's really a yearlong process for us in selecting the menu that best represents the area," Chalfant said. "We really did a lot of research because we want to showcase the local scene to this international crowd that is coming in."
The research included visits to the Milwaukee Public Market and talking with area chefs and restaurateurs about regional "must-haves," Chalfant said.
Chalfant said he and his team discovered a vibrant culinary scene in these parts.
"I've never spent any time in Wisconsin before the U.S. Open here," he said. "It was really surprising to see all the locally produced food options that you have. That was really exciting."
There was some education involved.
"Some of these breakfast pastries, what is it -- kringle, right? -- I've never heard of that before," Chalfant said. "But everyone here has heard of it and knows exactly what it is. We were told it's really not an option: You have to have it."
About the same time, the family owners of O&H Danish Bakery in Racine saw a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the United States Golf Association's desire to have local foods be part of the experience for golf fans attending the U.S. Open.
They contacted the USGA, which put them in touch with Chalfant.
The result is what O&H calls the "Erin go Bragh" kringle made specifically to commemorate the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
"We've taken a smooth Irish stout and infused it into our chocolate filling, and we've added Door County cherries into that. Then we ice it with a vanilla bean icing," said Matt Horton, vice president, and fourth-generation family member at O&H.
That sounds good.
"It's fabulous," Horton said.
"For the U.S. Open, we really wanted to do something special," Horton added. "We were working to get that unique flavor combination. It's fun for us to be able to show off what we're about and hopefully show the world about kringle."
Every kringle produced by O&H takes three days to make, Horton said. "It's 36 layers of flaky pastry," he said. "Not many people realize how long it takes to make."
All the fillings are made from scratch, and butter is a primary ingredient. (Wisconsin is one of the largest butter producers in the nation.)
Schultz and others said Wisconsin has a growing reputation for its food and hospitality.
"I think so much of Milwaukee and Madison have had a nice spotlight on them for the last couple years -- the food producers and restaurants and chefs that are now in town and what they are making," Schultz said. "We're lucky to be a part of this growing trend in Wisconsin, and I think it's telling, all the products that will be available at the U.S. Open."
That includes chocolate-covered cranberries from Rubi Reds, a cranberry focused business in Wisconsin Rapids.
"We are really excited about it. This will just be a whole new group of people" experiencing one of the company's products, said Marcy Berlyn, one of the family co-owners of the 5-year-old company.
Wisconsin is the world's leading producer of cranberries.
Then there is sausage. Milwaukee-based Usinger's Famous Sausage will be featured on the hospitality tent menu. Sheboygan Falls-based Johnsonville brand products will be featured at concession stands.
"It's going to be such great exposure," said Jon Gabe, vice president of sales and marketing for Usinger's. "We're honored to be a part of it.
"We feel it's a privilege," Gabe added. "We like to think we are representing Milwaukee and Wisconsin in the best possible way."
Usinger's braunschweiger also will be featured on the menu. "(Braunschweiger is) one of the things we hang our hat on," Gabe said. "We're hoping that people try it, maybe people who have never had it, then go home and ask for it.
"It's a big deal."
In Wisconsin, so are cheese curds.
The garlic cheese curds from Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee will be featured in the hospitality tents.
Cheese curds from Ellsworth Creamery will be featured at concession stands, said Jason Drysdale, the executive chef for Prom Levy Golf, which is overseeing the concessions portion of the Open. Prom Levy Golf is part of Chicago-based Levy Restaurants.
Chalfant said his company will add 400 temporary workers for the U.S. Open and will have a full kitchen up and running around the clock for the Open. "It's basically a 24-hour operation with two shifts," he said.
And the menus won't just feature Wisconsin food products, Chalfant said.
For example, some of his catering company's crab cakes will be on the menu. The region around the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland is known for its crab cakes.
As for cheese curds, well, "They don't know what cheese curds are in Maryland," Chalfant said.
This article is written by Joe Taschler from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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