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Staff Picks

Frank ZampardiFrank Zampardi
Gran Passione Rosso
Gran Passione Rosso is a smooth red wine from the Veneto region of Italy. A blend of Merlot and Corvina grapes, it offers a hearty body, soft tannins, and gentle acidity. Perfect for pairing with mature hard cheeses like that famous Italian one you might know. Or, try it with something from Sartori, here in Wisconsin! (Available at West only.) Pairs wonderfully with Sartori BellaVitano Gold.

Paige WicklinePaige Wickline
Pie Pumpkins
These sweet little pumpkins are known for having exceptional flavor and texture. Buy several and use for both an appetizer and dessert course. For an appetizer try cheese fondue in a roasted pumpkin. So decadent. If you still have room for dessert try some traditional pumpkin pie.

Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix
Cocoa with a kick! There’s nothing better than the mix of chocolate, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to transform milk (cow, soy or coconut will all work) into a delicious beverage. This product is crafted of organic cacao (cocoa beans) grown by the farmers of CONACADO Cooperative in the Dominican Republic, and organic sugar cane from small-scale farmers in Paraguay. A super-yummy holiday treat!

Megan MinnickMegan Minnick
Pearl Onions
Creamed onions are a delicious Irish Thanksgiving tradition for my family, and I love using the fresh rather than the canned version. Not easy to peel, but it’s only once a year, so who’s counting?

Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers
These are the most delicious crackers, and always the first to disappear from the hors d’oeuvres platter. I especially adore them paired with Widmer’s Aged Brick Cheese Spread.

Forest HerschelmanForrest Herschelman
Willy Street Co-op Hot Bar
The hot bar for Thanksgiving is my favorite. It is truly as tasty as my family’s cooking and a great way to still enjoy the holiday when you can’t join your family.

Assorted Misfit Cheeses
Want to impress your guests? Grab some assorted cheeses from our misfit cheese bin and make a cheese platter. An inexpensive way to get a large variety.

Ansley KnochAnsley Knoch
Immaculate Baking Company Pie Crust
This is a big winner for the weekend following Thanksgiving—cut it into small circles, stuff it with leftovers and BAM! Fancy leftover hand pies!

Gail Ambrosius Hot Chocolate
This stuff is the most luxurious, “grown-up” hot cocoa you could ever hope to find. Dark, intense, and rich, it could make anyone look forward to a cold winter’s night. Perfect for gift-giving!

Kii Naturals Rosemary Pistachio Crisps
They are not only beautiful to look at, but they taste amazing and can be paired with both savory and sweet toppings. Sure to make you look like the host with the most.

Amy HendersonAmy Henderson
Juniper Ridge Incense—Douglas Fir
This is my absolute favorite brand of incense. It fills the house with the smell of campfire and the woods and always puts me in the holiday spirit. I love that these are wild-harvested with respect to the land and they don’t have any charcoal or added perfumes.

Jahil HarrisJahil Harris
Willy Street Co-op Chocolate Covered Pretzels
I love eating these during Thanksgiving. Place them on the dessert table with peanut butter to dip them in. Very easy to snack on and hard to eat only one.

Big Fork Aged Cheddar Sausages
They taste amazing and basically melt in your mouth.

Brandy SchroederBrandy Schroeder
Salad Girl Crisp Apple Maple Salad Dressing
I like to make a salad with spinach or mixed greens, goat cheese, sliced apples or pears, candied pecans, and top with this salad dressing—it’s almost like dessert!

Jenny HoffmanJenny Hoffman
Crafted in the Woods Candles—North Woods Whisper
This scent pretty much ushers in the holiday season—crisp air and earthy pine. It smells so good, plus it burns forever! Runner-up is Rose Petal and Cream, a clean floral note that’s not cloying or overly perfumey.

Veriditas Grapefruit Essential Oil
If, like me, you have a hard time staying hydrated, you can add a few drops to jazz up your water. I also use it to make cocktails, a few drops in a vodka tonic takes it to the next level.

SpaRoom Ultramist Ceramic Diffusing Mister
I pretty much use mine 24-7. All you need is a few drops of essential oil (I like bergamot and vanilla or the Good Samaritan blend from Veriditas) and a diffuser to keep your home smelling fresh no matter what. On top of smelling nice, essential oils are antimicrobial so they help neutralize the smells in your home no matter what you’ve cooked or how many cats you’ve adopted on a whim. You can also use them as a humidifier for smaller rooms—add a few drops of eucalyptus if you’ve got a stuffy nose.

EvanHealy Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf
This superfine, super emollient whipped version of normally heavy shea butter smells amazing and works great to keep the winter from sucking all the moisture out of your skin, and because it’s whipped it’s easier to apply too! I use it on my hands and face. It not only acts as a moisturizing barrier from the harsh Wisconsin tundra but the olive leaf is actually healing too.

Host Defense MycoShield
The holidays for me are synonymous with catching a cold from one of my partner’s many familial gatherings, so I keep this stuff in my bag to spritz anytime I come in contact with a sniffling relative. It also doubles as a breath freshener and throat spray, for when you have to tell the same story about what’s going on in your life 50 times.

Fair Trade Coalition Tea Towels
I mean, look at them. I recently gave these as a baby shower gift but who wouldn’t love to get this handscreened homage to agronomy?

Joe MaloneJoe Malone
Fresh Cranberries
My favorite cranberry sauce is just crushed cranberries and diced oranges with a dash of sugar.

Fruit is a great gift and citrus fruit is in season through the holidays. Satsuma mandarin oranges are also traditional stocking stuffers.

Andrew HillAndrew Hill
Bell’s Brewery Brown Ale
Bell’s Brewery makes some delicious beers. A favorite of mine is their Brown Ale. Malty, with perfectly balanced flavor, it’s great for this time of year when the weather gets colder. It’s also great with cheese. I especially like it with cheeses that tend to have a bit of a tang or sharpness to them. The ale mellows the extremes of the cheese for a perfect pairing! Available at West only. Pairs wonderfully with Hidden Springs Manchego.

Hidden Springs Manchego
Brenda Jensen of Hidden Springs started making a Manchego-style a little over a year ago from her sheep’s milk. She keeps it young, usually 6 months, unlike the oft-touted 12-month-olds we see in every cheese counter (including ours). This keeps the paste—the part of the cheese that isn’t rind—supple and rich. Tons of buttery goodness with a nice tangy bite. Pairs well with Bell’s Brewery Brown Ale.

Island Orchard Pear Cider
Island Orchard’s Pear Cider is a delightfully bright French-style cider that delivers a perfect sweetness—light and fruity. You can really taste the apples and pears distinctly. It is a great foil for salty, heady cheeses from the Alpine styles: Gruyere, Comte, Beaufort or any of their American cousins! Available at West only. Pairs well with Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve.

Organic Valley Grassmilk Mild Cheddar
This cheddar is made from cows that are fed 100% grass during the time that their milk is being collected for its making. It is everything you’d expect from a cheddar—and a little more! It pairs really well with a beer that has a little bubble and brightness to it. Pairs great with 3 Sheeps Amber Ale.

3 Sheeps Amber Ale
I love the color of amber ales. Even better than that is their flavor, effervescent, light-bodied, easy to drink. Great for pairing with younger cheddars. At West only. Pairs well with Organic Valley Grassmilk Mild Cheddar.

Serenity VossSerenity Voss
Steve’s Burnt Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
Hands-down the best non-dairy ice cream I’ve ever had, with yummy swirls of caramel liquid burnt sugar.


Anna GilbertsAnna Gilberts
Bell & Evans Bone-in Turkey Breast
Averaging 4-8 pounds, this is a great alternative to getting a whole turkey. It’s great for smaller groups and those who only like white meat. The leftovers make a mean turkey soup. Pre-orders through Customer Service start November 1st and go until the turkeys land on November 19th. Order yours today!

Olli Salami
All three flavors of Olli are perfect for a holiday meat platter. Add some cheese and you’re ready to go.

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