Beer and bread and cheese: the perfect meal. Wait, add onions and sweet pickles. That’s a perfect meal. And for Slow Foodies, the perfect meal is made by hand, with care and attention.
North Carolina has a number of world-class artisan cheesemakers, along with the craft beer renaissance.
Hillsborough Cheese Company, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, makes both goat and cow’s milk cheeses. They are well known for their Bloomin Sweet Ash bloomy-rind cheese, but try the fresh chevre with North Carolina figs and honey. Pair this fresh cheese with rounds of bread warm from the oven and Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen for the real breakfast of champions.
Chapel Hill Creamery gives us a number of lovely cheeses, including Carolina Moon, a bloomy-rind cheese with an earthy, wild mushroom taste and a smooth buttery texture. Mix with fresh blackberries and whole grain crackers. Save your Dead Eye Jack for this outlaw picnic that will perfectly fit in a saddlebag. Dead Eye Jack is a seasonal porter, and he will never mention that long list of awards.
Round Mountain Creamery is an award-winning dairy in Black Mountain. Their Amber Moon is an aged washed-rind goat’s milk cheese with a unique nutty tang. It’s a silver medal winner from the North Carolina State Fair. Consider a fine sourdough bread and make the grilled cheese of your dreams. Pour a Pistols at Dawn stout, another award winner.
The Looking Glass Creamery in Asheville makes lovely cheese, including the Ridgeline, a cow’s-milk cheese with an ash line that looks like the Appalachians. This aged cheese has an olive-oil and paprika rind, and its rich, nutty caramel flavor needs a long tall glass of Sweet Josie Brown ale.