Frankenmuth part two: Bronner’s and the Cheese Haus
June 9, 2011 § 2 Comments
Welcome to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland!
This is a Bronner’s trashcan, which I am assuming translates to “garbage” though when I used Google to verify that, for Vietnamese it translated NOI BO ROC as “internal spam” and for the Swedish SOPPOR, “soups.” Finally for Portuguese, LIXO produced “garbage.” Just another reminder that google translate isn’t putting all the translators out of business quite yet.
I first visited the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. It’s a replica of the original chapel in which Silent Night was first performed, and which still stands in Austria today.
On the left are signs with the lyrics of the song translated into a LOT of different languages (the signs continue around to the other side of the building and each sign has twelve languages on it). Last time I was there, about ten years or so, there was a little sign up in the chapel itself asking for translations if anyone noticed a language s/he knew that wasn’t represented, but there isn’t a sign requesting that anymore, so either someone is tired of making new signs, or tourists who speak, like, Old Norse aren’t visiting Frankenmuth. Or it is possible that I didn’t notice the sign this time, spending more time giggling at the guest book comment describing the chapel as “very touchy.”
Bronner’s is so huge it has two entrances, the south entrance (which I selected because it’s nearer the chapel), and a west entrance too. There are a lot of Santa Clauses at Bronner’s, which specializes mostly in the American version of Christmas.
Here are some stockings that can be personalized. While I was there a nice German couple were wandering around filling up their cart. My German is pretty poor now but I definitely understood them saying how low the prices were, so they should bring back lots of gifts to Germany!
Section 8 is probably the most interesting, featuring all sorts of different ornaments, many of which, like the stockings, can be personalized with names and years and so forth.
The ornaments are divided into themes, such as hobbies, professions, and animals. Also, there are ornaments that are categorized by country of origin. I think this picture shows ornaments from Eastern Europe, and I want to say the middle ornaments were from Poland but unfortunately I can’t remember exactly. I probably should’ve taken notes.
Anyway, I was very hopeful initially to find some small ornaments to bring home, the cat ones perhaps being the most likely candidates, but it seemed the vast majority of the ornaments either weren’t to my taste, or were too heavy and would cause a tree branch to sag, or if they were light they were made of glass, and frankly, as we have cats in the house, glass ornaments are a Very Bad Idea.
I then searched around to see if they sold holiday pet outfits, but apparently I really do have a talent for going into a store and managing to find either the one item that they don’t sell, or more annoyingly for the sales staff, an item that isn’t in the system and thus has to be looked up. Tragically I was informed that holiday pet outfits didn’t sell well a few years back when they did have them in stock and that unfortunately I would have to make my own. Well, the staff didn’t say that I had to make my own, just that Bronner’s doesn’t carry them. I resolved to make my own this year.
In the end I decided to purchase a cookbook of Frankenmuth’s culinary delights and a few postcards to mail to my relatives who like Bronner’s and/or tacky-yet-charming postcards in the mail.
After a nice forty-five minutes at Bronner’s I decided I’d had enough of Christmas in May and drove to downtown Frankenmuth, getting lost along the way. Amusingly on the way back to town some of the old guys hanging out at this factory sort of building (maybe it was a granary? I attended two ag schools and managed to only learn cobbled-together French, so what do I know about farm anything?) waved to me. I think they saw me drive out of town a few minutes before and thus were laughing at the poor lost driver with the out-of-state license plates. Or maybe everyone in small-town Michigan is just friendlier than the East Coast.
Anyway, few miles down the road in the heart of Frankenmuth itself there are a number of awesome, tourist-trap shops. There is a cuckoo clock store (I resisted, having seen my fair share of cuckoo clocks in Austria and at the Zürich airport, and oddly enough in the Netherlands), and a leather store, another mill that sells fabric I think, and also the Cheese Haus.
Here’s the Cheese Haus Maus, as I thought of him. I have to give the store some credit, this Cheese Haus Maus totally had me — I pulled right over to buy a LOT of cheese. I recommend the cheese spread with bacon (excellent with pretzels) and the Wensleydale with cranberries in particular, and not just because Wensleydale cheese comes from Wensleydale sheep. It’s unbelievably creamy and with just a hint of tartness from the cranberries. Yum!
Also, did you know that the Wensleydale sheep was helped by Wallace and Gromit? The creators of the films wanted a cheese name that made the claymation Wallace’s mouth move a lot, and so they chose Wensleydale. (Try saying “Wensleydale” in front of a mirror and you’ll see what I mean!) Anyway, then people wanted to try Wallace’s favorite cheese and the breed, which is somewhat rare still, is a bit more popular because of it.
And finally, the yarn I got at Zeilinger’s:
Alpaca/wool yarn – for a stole for a knitalong I joined ages ago and then realized the yarn I initially selected from my stash wasn’t enough for the pattern. Zeilinger’s had just enough of this yarn, and if you are curious, the pattern is the Erg Chebbi Stole.
I also got some wool socks (not shown, they’re for my uncle’s Christmas present) and some Tunis, which is my first Tunis yarn, though I also have some Tunis roving I haven’t gotten around to spinning yet. Perhaps during the Tour de Fleece that’s coming up in July…