Pinconning, Cheese Town Capital of Michigan
Williams Cheese Company
Williams Cheese Company is a cheese and sandwich shop only a 20-minute drive north on M-13 from Bay City. The pleasant drive is along the highway parallels the shores of Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron and along the way are several side roads that will take you to primitive beaches and picnic areas for walking and birding activities. Many small shops and attractions fill M-13 to Pinconning, including Deer Acres Amusement Park, but the cheese shop facing M-13 (998 N. Huron Road in Linwood) is the highlight of the journey.
Every trip up to Mid-Michigan, friends and I visit Pinconning to purchase a supply of cheeses. During each trip, we also discover something new in the town. The cheese so flavorful and moderately priced, that I take the popular refrigeration bags available now or a cooler. The shop also has a mark-down case full of odd sizes of cut up cheese ends at very good discount prices. They are fabulous!-- Colby, American, Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, and many others.
In addition to dozens of different varieties and flavors of cheeses, the shop offers locally made breads, sandwich spreads, snacks, pickled eggs, sausages, dressings, dips, and dessert items. Sample containers are filled with cubes of all types of cheeses and patrons are free to help themselves while they make their big cheese decisions. Grandma's Cheese Bread is delicious and several other types on shelves allow for an interesting variety of sandwiches. Most people purchase a selection and have a picnic in the parking lot.
The shop carries several brands of products, one being the Williams brand cheeses, speciality cheeses, cheese spreads, and flavored cheeses. Another is the Amish Country brand cheeses, and the store features some private labels. The Williams company is very busy in making, aging, and packaging its own products - and over 5,000,000 pounds of cheeses every year. The shop is open 7 days a week, except for major holidays.
Williams's flavored cheeses are some that I have not found in my area. They are a great favorite of travelers that enjoy cheese and Williams offers a Hot Jalapeno Pepper Cheese (my favorite), Green Onion Ranch, Sharp & Creamy, Garden Vegetable (an award-winner), Horseradish (my other favorite), Roasted Garlic (delicious), Green Olive (delicious!) and others. Among all the varieties produced on site, the Pinconnning variety cheese itself is award-winning. It is a cow's milk cheese first produced in this village in 1915, milder than cheddar or colby (although it ages well to as sharp as a cheese can get), and especially good in recipes for macaroni and cheese. The William's website offers their own recipe.
Williams Cheese Company was founded in 1945 by James and Janina Williams in an old barn and today, an iconic giant fiberglass cow welcomes customers at the main entrance. Many travelers have their pictures taken with the cow, who is as famous in Cheese Country as Babe the Blue Ox is further to the west.
Not far north of Williams Cheese Company is the Pinconning Branch of the Bay County Library System. It is an inviting oasis with friendly staff and a living room type arrangement at equipped with armchairs, good lamps, and a wide selection of periodicals and newspapers.
Internet access is available for youth and adults and the local selection of book titles is commendable. The library is an anchor point for the town, with a Bay City bus stop out front, and the Post Office, other government and social agencies, and shops in the rear in a small complex.
The library is at 218 S. Kaiser Street at the intersection of W. 4th Street, just of M-13 and one block north of 5th Street, which becomes E. Pinconning Road that leads to the Pinconning Park less than 2 miles away.
- Pinconning Branch Library, Bay County System
A centerpiece of the village.
- Bay County Pinconning Park
Gateway To The North: Pinconning Park and Campground is minutes off I-75, in NE Bay County. Pinconning Park has evolved into a natural tourist attraction due to its rich history, prime location along Saginaw Bay, and world-renowned walleye fishery.
Williams Cheese and Fun
The Pinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe
Pinconning Cheese Co. faces M-13 at 221 N. Mable Street (M-13) in Pinconning MI, just about 500 feet north and on the opposite side of the road from the smaller Wilson Cheese Company (see below).
This large cheese and fudge shop offers Pinconning cheese, along with a large number of other products like specialty meats, snacks, a gift shop, and a cafe for specialty sandwiches, pickled bologna, and their World Famous Pizza Loaves.
Some other items include:
- Smoked Fresh Water Fish
- Venison Sausage and specialty jerky treats (turkey and other game), Spiral Cut Hams
- Gift Boxes - cheeses, fudge, and meats
- Homemade Amish Pasta
- Homemade Fudge, Candies, Jams & Jellies
- SAUCES: Hot Sauces, Salsas, BBQs. The hottest may be the Pinconning Paralyzer.
- Gourmet Coffees
- Pinconning Honey and Maple Syrup
- Specialty pickles, olives, mustards
- Pinconning Cheese - Home
SPECIALIZING IN AGING CHEESES, FROM FRESHLY MADE TO OVER 10 YEARS OLD. ALSO PRODUCE HOMEMADE JERKEY AND SPECIALTY SAUSAGES AND PICKLED MEAT ITEMS AND HOMEMADE FUDGE. ALSO HOME OF THE FAMOUS PINCONNING PIZZALOAF. LARGE SELCTION OF MICHIGAN MADE MEAT P
M-13 Cheese Shops
Wilson Cheese Company, Since 1939
The Wilson Cheese Shop at 130 N. Mable Street is the oldest cheese shop in Michigan. Becoming popular with the rise of the state highway system and the emerging travel fad of meat and cheese shops, Wilson's has been visited by thousands of travelers since it opened in 1939.
Wilson's is still well known today for its Pinconning cheese, as are the Williams Cheese Company and the Pinconning Cheese Co. and Fudge Shoppe. Wilson's carries a line of numerous other cheesees in addition to its Pinconning brand and offers a range of gourmet specialty and gifts items. The staff will make up cheese trays to your liking for parties an dgifts as well.
The service in the shop is friendly and the gift area of this store is larger than that of Willliams. The gift shop features T-shirts, hats, plaques, picture post cards, calendars, mugs, stuffed animals, novelties, maps, area guidebooks, and a number of other popular items.
Michigan State Highway M-13 -- The Cheese Highway
© 2010 Patty Inglish
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