We recently made a goat cheese and chive breakfast scramble for our Asheville Bed & Breakfast guests. It made me think about how lucky we are to have so many artisan cheese makers right in our own WNC backyard. As it turns out, the time-honored craft of artisan cheese making has experienced a revival the past few years, especially throughout North Carolina. Our state boasts over 40 cheese producers, with about 30-35 of those being artisanal in nature. Artisanal cheese-makers own their own goats or cows and process their cheeses on small, sustainable family farms or local creameries.
Many N.C. cheeses are produced without the use of additives, growth hormones, preservatives or other unnatural ingredients, and are some of the most prized in the nation. In 2011, Looking Glass Creamery in Fairview was one of only six Artisan Cheese-makers across the country to be featured in Williams Sonoma catalog. Three of their signature cheeses Early Bird, Ellington, and Chocolate Lab were showcased. Ellington is named after the famed art deco architect who designed many of Asheville’s unique buildings. The famed cheese won the Taste Test Awards by Cooking Light in 2011 and brought home second place at the American Cheese Society Conference and Competition last August.
The artisan cheese movement has taken such a strong hold, there is now an official cheese trail (wine lovers eat your heart out!) The WNC Cheese Trail gives cheese connoisseurs a chance to tour the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, while sampling some of the finest local cheeses fresh from the farm. Sample cheeses from local favorites like Round Mountain Creamery, Heritage Homestead, Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery, Looking Glass Creamery and more. Whether you prefer Blue, Chevre, Gouda, Brie or something more exotic, the tour will give you the chance to taste a wide variety from soft-ripened pasteurized varieties to hard, aged raw milk cheeses. The distinctive flavor of handcrafted cheese results from the high quality and pure nature of the milk being used and the variety of grasses and herbs used to feed cows and goats. For more information, visit www.wnccheesetrail.vpweb.com.
Now that we’ve got you all geared up for some yummy local WNC cheese, we’ll share one of our favorite Bed & Breakfast recipes with you.
Goat Cheese & Chive Scramble (serves 6)
3 tbsp. stick of butter
18 eggs whisked
2 tbsp. half and half
Good quality goat cheese (to taste)
Half a bunch of chives chopped
Heat large sauté pan over medium high heat and melt butter. Mix eggs and half and half together and pour into pan. Turn heat down to medium low and cook eggs slowly. Gently push eggs around in pan and keep a close eye on them. When almost set turn off heat and add goat cheese and chives.