Sisters In Cheese

By Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Sometimes dreams do come true. And that is literally the case for Sisters in Cheese in Madrid.

In 2017, Chelsea Johnsen had a strange dream that she opened a catering business with her sister called "Sisters in Cheese," specializing in fancy cheese boards. The only problem was that Johnsen doesn't have a sister. Although at the time, she was working with her sister-in-law.

"I called her and told her about the dream, and we laughed about it," Johnsen says. "It was a ridiculous name, but it was catchy. My sister-in-law is one of my best friends and family, but we decided it was a bad idea to go into business together."

That dream was the foundation for a catering business, specializing in grazing boards, boxes and tables. Johnsen began researching specialized meat and cheese boards. She soon found what she was imagining thousands of miles away in Europe. They were called “Australian Grazing Tables” and featured beautifully crafted food paired best with friends and family.

As she became more interested in the delectable creations, she found there were few places to find the boards in the U.S.

Filed under “where there is a need, there is always an answer,” Johnsen began making the creations. Today, Sisters in Cheese is a fully licensed catering company and eatery serving central Iowa. It offers grazing boards, tiles, boxes and tables to order as well as breakfast and lunch items.

"We're all sisters in cheese," Johnsen says with a laugh as she explains the evolution of the name from her dream.

After realizing the need to expand kitchen space, Johnsen opened a restaurant space in Downtown Madrid, just a block off the world-famous High Trestle Trail. The restaurant now serves breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Saturday.

The creations are made from local meats and cheeses along with vegetables, fruit, bread, nuts and hummus.

"I have a box called ‘the workday’ and it has a couple of boiled eggs in it," she says. "People can grab it for breakfast and finish it at lunch. It's a product that when I worked in offices, I would've loved."

Johnsen says she is also working on a grazing cup that has smaller portions designed for bicyclists riding the High Trestle Trail.

You can visit Sisters in Cheese online for information on ordering a box.

Please note, by clicking the links you will be leaving a partially funded checkoff site.