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With Spring’s arrival in Seattle, each sunny day has us daydreaming about lakeside picnics and wine parties—both of which wouldn’t be complete without a delightfully pleasing array of tasty, creamy, flavorful cheeses. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re blessed with a variety of artisan Washington cheese makers who have honed their craft with a passion you can taste in every bite. Come with us a on tour of some of the best local creameries!

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
1600 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101
206.956.1964

No trip to Pike Place Market is complete without a stop at Beecher’s. Their hand-crafted cheese is made right on the premises. Locals and tourists alike can watch in wonder through the giant streetside windows as milk and cream is transformed into curds and whey that eventually form robustly flavored cheeses. They offer a wide range of cheese, but their award-winning Flagship (a firm cheese with a uniquely nutty, complex flavor) remains a popular favorite. Another must-try speciality is their spicy No Woman cheese. Jamacian Jerk spices are blended with a touch of brown sugar and cloves for an unforgettable treat! Vistors of Beecher’s are also urged to order up their “World’s Best” Mac ‘n Cheese” for an out-of-this-world taste experience – or even take a frozen portion home for later.

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Mt. Townsend’s incredibly creamy cheeses.

Mt Townsend Creamery

338 Sherman Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
360.379.0895

Located in the quaint seaside town of Port Townsend, Mt. Townsend Creamery has made a name for themselves with a line of extraordinary cheeses.  In 2010, the American Cheese Society named their soft-ripened original Seastack cheese “Best in Class.” A dusting of vegetable ash lends an earthy finish to this cheese, as well as giving it an attractive presentation on your serving tray. They also offer Fromage blanc: a spreadable farmers cheese with a smooth flavor simliar to chevre, which comes in plain or truffle varities. This delectable cheese is great for spreading on a baguette or crackers, but can also be used as a base for a creamy pasta sauce. Using only the highest quality, hormone-free, local milk, the Mt. Townsend Creamery focuses on Northwest-inspired cheeses made in the French tradition.

Quillisascut Cheese Company
2409 Pleasant Valley Road
Rice, WA 99167
509.738.2011

A 63-acre farm in Northeastern Washington just off the Columbia River, Quillisascut is known for their amazingly delicious aged raw goat cheese. Co-owner Lora Lea Misterly grew up on a dairy farm and watched her mother craft cheese all through her childhood. Her love of country living and pure, simple flavors inspired her to start making raw milk cheese from her own goats. Their base line includes a Traditional Curado with a sweet, nutty, and slightly grassy flavor, and Viejo, which has a spicy tang for a rich taste, making it the perfect substitute for Romano in any recipe. In addition to their spectacular cheeses, they offer Farm Culinary Classes for students and food professionals who want to learn the basics of living off the land—including making cheese!

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Cheese-a-riffic! Beecher’s and Appel Farms varities nestled together in a dairy case.

Appel Farms

6605 Northwest Road
Ferndale, WA  98248
360.384.4996

Appel Farms is a family-owned dairy in Ferndale, a small town north of Bellingham. This 250-cow farm strives to produce high quality artisan cheese in a manner that is healthiest for both the cows and the land. They offer an array of noteworthy cheeses including crumbly Feta in basil tomato, oregano tomato and greek olive – as well as Gouda in smoked or jalapeno flavors. They also produce a soft cheese called Quark, which has a consistency somewhere between cream chesea and sour cream. This multi-use cheese complements a variety of dishes, and is easily enhanced with the addition of any spices you want to add. You can use it everything from a taco or chili topping to quiches and even chocolate cake. Check the Appel Farms Lark with Quark blog for recipes.

What’s the big cheese? Find out on The Local Dish:

Artisan Goat Cheese from Pholia Farm

Top Favorites from Bay Area Cheesemongers

Curds and Whey: Making Cheese at Home