A Grilled Cheese at Cheese Importers
A Grilled Cheese at Cheese Importers. Photo by Aimee Heckel

The Big Cheese: All About Cheese in Boulder

In Food & Drink by Aimee Heckel0 Comments

Boulder is so very fondu of cheese.

Too cheesy? Nacho style?

Fine. We’ll stop (although we thought our puns were grate).

If you still have an appetite, get that belly grumbling. With a history in agriculture and farm-to-table values, there are so many different ways to enjoy cheese in Boulder County.

Here are eight of our favorite cheese-centric activities in and near Boulder:

1. Learn to Make Cheese.

Head to the Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy in Longmont for a cheesemaking class. This working dairy offers classes for all levels, from Cheesemaking 101 to specialty classes to multi-day workshops for experienced makers. Learn more at The Art of Cheese.

2. Tour a Dairy.

If you aren’t up for cheesemaking but you are still curious to see where dairy products come from, you can tour local dairies. Sign up for a creamery tour at Haystack Mountain or visit Boulder’s Mountain Flower Goat Dairy. Need a virtual fix? Check out Mountain Flower’s Goat Cams online, which let you watch the 30 goats living their best lives. You can even do yoga with the goats, enroll in a raw milking internship or join the milk share. No, there’s no cheese, per se, but it’s where cheese begins. Plus, goats.

Longmont-based Briar Gate Farm also offers limited tours by appointment. See Nubian, mini Nubian and Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, whose milk has been used to make cheese at the farm.

3. Make Cheese at Home.

Even if you can’t attend a cheesemaking class, The Art of Cheese offers online and DVD classes. You can learn remotely from your own home. There are several different online courses to pick from.

Cheeses, meats and products of Cured in Boulder. Photo by Brett Wilhelm

4. Order the Perfect Cheese Board.

Cured, on the Pearl Street Mall, is a gourmet grocery store-slash-deli that specializes in charcuterie and a hand-picked selection of cheeses. Order the perfect cheese board to go for your next party (or for your own darn self, we don’t judge). Check out Cured’s Cheesemonger’s Choice, which includes five chunks of cheese, a box of crackers and house preserves. Add two dry cured salamis for an additional cost. Add a cheese set in a wooden box and make it a gift.

Cured also makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. Try the one with Red Rock cheese, which is like a classic grilled cheeser, only better. Or our favorite: the sweet grilled cheese, accented by black currant jam. It’s so good that it’s silly. Another good bet is the grilled cheese sandwich with ham and house-made mustard.

Shine Grilled cheese

A grilled cheese sandwich at Shine. Courtesy photo

5. Try Dairy-Free Cheese.

Yes, even vegans can enjoy “cheese,” although die-hard cheese-heads would say it’s not the same. But if you can’t digest lactose or cheese doesn’t agree with your diet, you can still enjoy cheese-ish food at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place. This totally gluten-free kitchen also makes mac-and-cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches (among other menu items) with non-dairy cheese. Try Shrine’s grilled cheese with bacon from Blackbelly (if you eat meat) and tomatoes. The best part is the tomato confit, which is like a tomato soup dipping sauce.

Shine also has grilled cheese sandwiches with dairy cheese.

6. Get a Fancy Crepe.

Of course, a French restaurant would have great cheese, right? That’s one of the many reasons we love Brasserie Ten Ten in downtown Boulder. A must-try: its Gruyère crepes (Black Forest jam, gruyere cheese, sauce bearnaise, balsamic reduction and petit salade). You could always start with brie chaud (warm brie, blackberry mostarda, candied almonds and crostini) and order a charcuterie and cheese plate on the side, too, if you need more cheese. (You always need more cheese.) Brasserie Ten Ten’s entire Fromage and Charcuterie menu is impressive. Ask for wine pairings and a seat on the flower-filled patio to top off the experience.

Cheese Importers

Cheese Importers. Courtesy photo

7. Have Lunch at Cheese Importers.

Cheese Importers in Longmont is the king of cheese. In fact, this family-run business offers more than 350 types of cheeses in a massive walk-in cooler. The menu and entire atmosphere is a delight. Get a table on the back patio or upstairs, if you want to be out of the busy action. The grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tomato soup is exactly what a grilled cheese sandwich should be. Make sure you try the lavender mocha and a pastry, too.

Then shop in the cheese shop and leave with more cheese than you know what to do with. (Just kidding. You know what to do with it. Eat it. Immediately.) If you want any kind of cheese, even a rare find, this is your spot.

Cheese at Le Frigo. Courtesy photo

8. Do Cheese, European Style.

Le Frigo in Boulder is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s a gourmet food market and deli with all kinds of European goodies and a fun, unique selection of more than 100 types of cheese. Find good prices on gourmet cheese (as well as meat) and tasty, Euro-style sandwiches. Enjoy your cheese platter with some French-inspired pâté.

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