Explore the WNC (Western North Carolina) Cheese Trail and spend an afternoon soaking in the mountain beauty and sampling some of the best handmade cheese being made in the South. Connect directly with cheesemakers, seeing where your favorite cheeses are crafted, and buy straight from the producers. These award winning cheesemakers range from new operations to pioneers in the artisan cheese movement, using both goat milk and cow milk.
Cheesemaking and dairy farming are very time intensive and all-consuming businesses. Not all farms are open for visitation, and most are open very limited hours or by appointment only. They love visitors, but farms are small so the owners are very hands-on. There are several near Asheville (Fairview and Black Mountain area), so you could create your own cheese tour.
Round Mountain Creamery (photo at top): Their 28-acre farm south of Black Mountain (25 miles from Asheville) is home to 150 goats and 12 delicious farmstead soft and seasonal aged goat cheeses. Tour the milking and production areas and meet the friendly Alpine and LaMancha goats. They welcome visitors year-round. Store open Friday & Saturday, 12-4 PM. Call 828-669-0718 for an appointment for a guided tour on Wednesday-Saturday. $8/person fee for tour and a cheese tasting. See our Round Mountain Creamery Guide.
Looking Glass Creamery: This artisanal producer makes exceptional, handmade cheese and "Carmoolita" caramel. Visit to sample their creations, enjoy a glass of wine, and buy goods from other local food makers. They are the easiest cheesemaker to visit, since it's an easy drive from downtown Asheville and open Thursday-Sunday 11 AM-5 PM. Their cheese has been picked up by Williams Sonoma and has won many awards. Try samples in their Cheese Shop. See our Looking Glass Creamery guide for more info.
Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery: Located near Looking Glass Creamery (7.5 miles down a curvy mountain road), Victor Chiarizia built a real cave for aging his cheese. He welcomes visitors by appointment on Wednesday and Friday cheese making days, so give him a call. Tasting tours are $5/person. His distinctive cheeses are handcrafted with love in small batches and cave-aged to perfection. The natural rock-lined cheese cave stays at a constant temperature perfect for the aging process. Love his Gouda and Blue Cheese. Contact Victor Chiarizia, 327 Flat Creek Road, Fairview, 828-551-5739
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest: April 29, 2018
WNC Cheese Trail’s annual festival is held at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville from 12-4 PM. It includes hands-on activities for kids and adults, panel discussions, workshops, vendors and cheesemakers. Sample and purchase cheeses, get an up close view of dairy animals and attend workshops and panel discussions. Advance tickets (at www.mountaincheesefest.com) are $14 for ages 12+. If it doesn't sell-out in advance, tickets at the door will be $20.
English Farmstead Cheese
19456 US 221 North
Open Fri & Sat 10-6
Cane Creek Creamery
1448 Cane Creek Rd
Open most Thurs-Sat afternoons
Oakmoon Farm & Creamery
431 South Mitchell Avenue
Honor system cheese stand
Yellow Branch Cheese and Pottery
1073 Old Yellow Branch Rd
April-Dec, Tues-Sat 12-5 PM
Spinning Spider Creamery
4717 East Fork Rd
May-Dec, Fri & Sat 12-4 PM
Three Graces Dairy
Call for appointment
Hickory Nut Gap Farm: A supporter of the WNC Cheese Trail, the farm, located near US 74-A on your way to Chimney Rock, offers grassfed beef, pastured pork and poultry and farm tourism activities including organic u-pick berry operation, apples, corn maze, pumpkin patch, animals to hold and feed and a farm store that is open year around. Read more about them and other area farms to visit.