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The season to gather with family and friends from near and far is officially here. Extended relatives make their once-a-year visit, and old friends make time to catch up.

I always look forward to hugging my family from Arizona and gathering together to say ‘thanks’. These truly are some of the most cherished times of the year. This holiday season, be ready for drop-in guests and last-minute party invites with these Something Special from Wisconsin™ products on hand.

Skip the dessert prep this season, and have Suzy and her team do the baking. Suzy Strothmann, president and founder of Suzy’s Cream Cheesecakes has been baking from scratch for as long as she can remember.

Like many of us, baking reminds her of time spent in the kitchen with her mother. She began making and selling cheesecakes 36 years ago, and they quickly began flying off the shelves.

Today, the number of cheesecakes baked in a day has grown, but the business’s core mission has never changed: to bake the finest cheesecake money can buy. Pick up a cheesecake from Suzy’s for your next holiday party!

Snack food is a must for drop in guests! When family and friends show up last minute, set out a bowl of Palo Popcorn, and instantly appear prepared. Caution is advised as their popcorn is addicting! The creamy cheddar flavor is hard to resist, and I always find myself going back for another scoop.

Palo Popcorn is a family-owned, small batch manufacturer based in Sheboygan Falls. Their recipe starts with real cheddar cheese, producing a gourmet cheddar popcorn experience like no other. Stock up on varieties like jalapeno cheddar, white cheddar maple bacon, or Mexican street corn to impress your next guests. (Or keep them all to yourself, because they are that good!)

Whip together a quick cheeseboard for last minute party invites when you have a gift box from Widmer’s Cheese Cellars on hand. Widmer’s has been handcrafting cheese in small batches since 1922. Today, the fourth generation owns and operates the cheese factory in Theresa.

You can choose from several different gift boxes that have a variety of cheeses such as pepper cheddar, aged brick, or Colby. Brick and Colby are especially great options to include on your cheeseboard, as they are both Wisconsin originals, which means they were invented right in our state. Order a gift box to send to a friend, or to ensure you have plenty of Wisconsin cheese on hand for the holiday season at widmerscheese.com.

Great for a hostess gift or for entertaining your own guests is a bottle of Wisconsin wine. Wisconsin craft wines satisfy the range of wine palates from dry to sweet. Choose classic varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, or branch out with watermelon and pumpkin wine.

For a nod to Wisconsin’s state fruit, select a cranberry wine, available from numerous wineries. There truly is a vintage for every wine drinker in Wisconsin. Head to wiswine.com to learn more about local wineries throughout the state.

This season, avoid any stress and truly enjoy the holiday when you stock your shelves with Something Special from Wisconsin products. The Something Special from Wisconsin program requires at least half of the ingredients, production, or processing come from our state. Look for more great local products by searching for the red program logo with yellow letters while you shop.

Abigail Martin is serving as Wisconsin's 72nd Alice in Dairyland.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.wisfarmer.com/story/opinion/columnists/2019/11/21/gifts-wisconsin-truly-something-special-holiday-time/2517061001/