Hey, it’s National Dairy Month! And it’s national candy month, fresh fruit and vegetable month, iced tea month, seafood month, papaya month, steakhouse month, and turkey lovers’ month. Does that seem like a bit much? Just wait—June also includes national doughnut day, cognac day, egg day and hazelnut cake day, to name just a few. These random holiday declarations might be dismissed as ridiculous marketing ploys, but we’ll jump on any excuse to celebrate, especially when it means indulging in our favorite foods. The dairy observance was originally billed as National Milk Month and was petitioned by the National Dairy Council in 1937 in an attempt to stabilize surplus dairy production. Nothing wrong with that. As Minnesotans with scads of cows and our esteemed State Fair butter queens, it’s our duty to milk this national holiday for all it’s worth. We think these delightful dairy dishes deserve a round of applause. MOZZARELLA TASTING Mozza Mia The 1990s brought an oxygen bar craze, but since then we’ve come to our senses, replacing them with the more utilitarian mozzarella bar. The first mozzarella bar opened in Rome in 2004; it didn’t take Edina long to catch up, with Mozza Mia Pizza Pie and Mozzarella Bar. Mozza Mia makes its eponymous mozz in-house every day using Wisconsin whole milk and Sicilian sea salt. You simply must try each one, so get the mozza tasting plate. The clean, pure-tasting Fiore di Latte (milk flower) represents a baseline of true milk flavor. Once you’ve savored that, work your way into the more intense and complex: a cream-filled Burrata will delight you and you’ll be intrigued by a smoked bufala made from earthy buffalo milk passed through the wood-fired oven. Rollatini, a hand-rolled mozzarella, is filled with different ingredients each day—maybe prosciutto, maybe basil. A cloud of fluffy ricotta is sweet and mild like dessert and at its best served with a dribble of extra-virgin olive oil and twist of cracked pepper. A stack of garlic-scented grilled toast provides ideal conveyance. Small sampling for two to three people, $15. 3910 W. 50th St.; 952.288.2882; mozzamia.com DURIAN ICE CREAM Edina Creamery The Edina creamery is the sort of old-school ice cream shop from the days of yore whose passing people mourn. That means it’s always packed and ever popular. A frequent winner of local and national awards, including Gourmet magazine’s best ice cream in America, the Edina Creamery churns out over 50 flavors. As old-fashioned as it is, this ice cream parlor isn’t afraid to dip its toe into far-out taste sensations like durian, an exotic East Asian fruit whose flavor is often compared to that of overripe brie. Don’t worry; the heady, sweet aroma of freshly pressed waffle cones fills the small store, eradicating any errant stink. Prices vary. 5055 France Ave. S.; 612.920.2169; edinacreamery.com WISCONSIN CHEESE CURDS Red Cow These beer-battered, deep-fried cheese curds are wicked in both senses of the word: yummy on the tongue and evil in the arteries. The massive pile of craggy, golden lovelies comes in a red plastic basket that smacks of the drive-in. Each oozing bite is salty, stringy and greasy in the best possible way. The curds hail from Wisconsin’s Ellsworth cooperative creamery, the acknowledged king of the curd world. Red Cow adds triple-berry ketchup on the side, though it tastes more like ketchup than strawberry-raspberry-blackberry. This is a good thing: It’s dangerous to mess with perfection, especially when it comes to something as near and dear to Minnesotans’ hearts as deep-fried cheese curds. We shared ours with the family sitting next to us; you’ll want to spread the wealth too, lest your arteries bear the brunt. These babies make your taste buds want to kick your cardiologist’s ass. $9. 3624 W. 50th St.; 612.767.4411; redcowmn.com THREE-CHEESE AND VEGGIE CIABATTA Peoples Organic Café Why settle for a grilled cheese when you can have grilled cheeses? Peoples Organic triples the dairy delight by combining a nutty Swiss gruyere, a pungent local cheddar, and a creamy goat cheese on their fresh ciabatta bread. A swab of aioli (garlic mayo) conspires with a layer of sliced tomatoes and fresh spinach to create a sandwich that’s both decadent and wholesome, and a far cry from the bland, run-of-the-mill after-school snack we remember. $10. 3545 Galleria; 952.426.1856; peoplesorganic.com QUESO FUNDIDO Cocina del Barrio Queso fundido means melted cheese, and that’s what makes this dish perfect: a vat of melted cheese is a fantasy come true, and people get worked up over it. An order of queso fundido requires strategic positioning at the dining table. Make sure that it’s placed within the range of your elbows so that you can deflect marauding queso-seekers. Barrio adds smoky roasted poblano peppers to melted Oaxaca cheese and goat cheese with warm tortillas for scooping. You can add chorizo or wild mushrooms for extra chunkiness. Toss aside that old admonition not to play with your food and get ready for a sandbox scuffle. In the battle between health and taste, queso takes the trophy. $9. 5036 France Ave. S.; 952.920.1860; barriotequila.com/barrio_cocina.html FROZEN YOGURT The Yogurt Lab Frozen yogurt has made a comeback, and a host of new yogurt shacks has sprung up, offering a mind-boggling array of flavors with a huge selection of DIY toppings. The Yogurt Lab styles itself after a science laboratory, presenting a “periodic table” of 16 rotating flavors including novelties like banana pudding, ginger, pink grapefruit and salted peanut. There are 60 toppings to choose from: fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes; candy like M&Ms, chocolate-covered almonds and Reese’s Pieces; popular cereals Cap’n Crunch and Fruit Loops; and random stuff like animal crackers, Oreos and pretzels. Prices vary, per ounce. 5007 France Ave. S.; 612.315.3651; yogurtlabs.com WHITE RUSSIAN McCormick & Schmick’s Before you relegate dairy to the pure-as-the-driven-snow zone, consider the many classic booze and cream combos, like eggnog, brandy alexander, grasshopper or the cult favorite white Russian. The cozy, clubby bar at McCormick and Schmick’s knows what it’s doing in this regard, mixing up an outrageously tasty quaff made from Kahlua, vodka and cream. The white Russian is best savored as a dessert drink; chugging down more than one will result in the most horrific—not to mention caloric—hangover. $7.25. 3203 Galleria; 952.920.1142; mccormickandschmicks.com
Celebrate National Dairy Month in Edina
Milking National Dairy Month.