Nearly a dozen dairies and creameries across the state have perfected the art of cheesemaking, and they encourage visitors to spend an afternoon, weekend or an entire vacation exploring the North Carolina Cheese Trail. Not only do travelers get to sample and purchase award-winning cheeses, the trail also provides an opportunity to get out and enjoy the state’s scenic farmlands. For more information on the NC Cheese Trail, check out this article in North Carolina Agriculture Magazine.
This Sunday, April 29, is the annual Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville. This event benefits the WNC Cheese Trail and gives hard-core cheese lovers time to meet with cheese makers, sample products and make purchases. Other events include local chef cook-offs, a kids corral, petting zoo, cheese-making demonstrations, and yogurt-making demonstrations. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. Admission is limited.
Cheese boards, providing a sample of different flavors and styles of cheese, have increased in popularity as options for appetizers at restaurants, wine shops as well as a classy way to entertain at home. Check out a few suggestions below for help in creating a classic cheese board, or make up your own flavor palate. Just remember you typically want to include a firm (Manchego), aged (cheddar or Gouda), blue (Danish Blue or Gorgonzola) and a soft (brie or goat cheese)—depending on your preference.
Choose North Carolina cheeses available on the cheese trail or for sale at your local farmers market. For an interesting and state-inspired way to serve your cheese, check out this state-shaped serving board from Our State Magazine.
North Carolina-inspired cheese board:
- Brie drizzled with local honey, jam, or fig preserves
- Goat cheese (this can also be drizzled with honey)
- Sweet White cheddar cheese
- Pimento cheese
- Parmesan cheese (broken up into chunks)
- Pimento-stuffed olives
- Pickled beets
- Dried apple rings
- Green grapes
- Honey roasted peanuts
- Toasted walnuts
The best way to store cheese? In a resealable tub to protect from drafts and fridge odors. Store in an area where your fridge stays the warmest and serve at room temperature.