Around Wine Country

Walla Walla Cheese

December 26, 2018

Looking for some local cheese to pair with all this great wine? The Walla Walla Valley’s got that covered too. Learn about our local creameries and their unique dairy terroir. You can find the cheeses at local grocers like Harvest Foods, on many restaurant menus or take a field trip and visit for yourself.

Monteillet Fromagerie

Joan and Pierre-Louis Monteillet were the first to bring artisan cheese to the Valley when they opened Monteillet Fromagerie in 1997. Since then their highly regarded cheeses have been lauded by many chefs around the region. Their Alpine goats and East Friesian-Lacaune sheep produce the rich high-butter content milk for their cheeses.

Pierre-Louis, a native of France, and wife Joan, who grew up in Walla Walla, make a variety of soft-ripened, semi-hard and hard chevre, a blended goat and sheep’s milk cheese, as well as feta, mozzarella and ricotta, all made using techniques traditional to the Roquefort region of France where Pierre-Louis was born.

Visit their farm by appointment in Dayton or check out their cheese shop located in Whoopemup Hollow Café in downtown Walla Walla.

Umapine Creamery

Brent Carroll, owner of Umapine Creamery, knew he wanted to be a dairyman since he was twelve. After a school field trip to a dairy farm, he rode his bike back to the farm and asked for a job that very day. Fast forward more than fifty years later and he’s still at it.

He and his wife, Yvonne opened the creamery on their dairy farm in 2012.

Just as the region’s grapes are affected by terroir, so are its cheeses, says Brent. “I’ve found that we do have a unique flavor here because of our long hot summers and our colder winters,” he says. “The grasses grow differently, so that’s going to naturally be expressed in the milk that our cows make.”

Umapine makes four base cheeses –gouda, Havarti, a farmstead that is a cross between cheddar and gouda, and a dry jack. They then add different seasonings or smoke to make 26 different flavors.

Visit their dairy and creamery by appointment in Umapine, Oregon, just over the border.

Walla Walla Cheese Company

Jeff and Andrea Adams were also veterans of the dairy business who started making cheese for fun before turning it into a business. They opened their store a couple years ago where they age and sell their cheeses, along with offering samples and daily sandwich specials. They currently produce cheddar, Havarti, gouda, jack, halloumi, queso fresco, and many unique flavored varieties, like caraway Havarti, and Sriracha jack.

Visit them at their shop in downtown Milton-Freewater.