Tasty follow ups

Twig’s Beverage now is putting its Ginseng Fest-created soda into regular production, and locals are compiling a recipe book for the 2018 fest.


Cooking with ginseng can be a challenge. But area chefs were up to the challenge for last year’s International Wisconsin Ginseng Fest in Wausau, and attendees raved about the specially-created food and drinks—from pizza and ice cream to cold brewed coffee and soda.


The limited-edition soda created by Twig’s for last year’s fest was so well received, the Shawano beverage company is putting it into regular production and should be on local store shelves this spring.

Twig’s Beverage in Shawano produced 60 cases of a specially-created cranberry-ginseng soda for the September fest. The soda went so quickly and was so well received that Twig’s now is making it a regular product. Owner Dan Hartwig says they’re nearly finished designing the labels, and hope to have the new soda on the shelves in Marathon County by this spring. Hartwig says they discovered that ginseng was difficult to work with in powder form, but easier as an extract.

And come this fall for the 2018 Ginseng Fest, foodies can try cooking with ginseng themselves with a cookbook the Central Wisconsin Convention and Visitors Bureau is in the process of creating.

“A lot of people after the festival thought, ‘Well, I have all this ginseng, now what am I going to do with it?’” says Rebecca Bratton, graphic designer for the CVB, which organized the fest. “So we thought it would be nice to publish a cookbook so people can take away some knowledge from the festival.”

The CVB estimates the festival had a $2.1 million economic impact and drew hundreds of visitors from Europe, Asia and other parts of North America, says the CVB’s former Sales Director Lisa Berry (as of this week Berry is no longer with the agency). Discover Wisconsin will air an episode about the festival in April.

The recipes primarily come from chefs and other business owners who created ginseng food for the festival. Outside suggestions will also be considered. The book will be released in time for the festival, Bratton says, and likely available after that as well. The CVB will produce the book in house and work with a local printer to publish it. Any proceeds above printing costs will be split between festival expenses and charitable donations, Bratton says.

The idea for the cook book came from the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, which produces a cookbook to pair with its festival, Berry says. Having a cookbook will keep ginseng on people’s minds and provide a keepsake. Anyone interested in submitting a recipe can contact Bratton at [email protected]