This cheese vacation was exactly what I needed in my life.
I live, breath and sleep cheese. I don't care if it's sharp, yellow, orange, old or smelly just hand it over. Recently my mother, who is also an avid cheese lover, took me on my dream vacation to not one but TWO amazing creamery's, Tillamook and Blue Heron and let me tell you that it was better than I ever dreamed it could be.
I'm going to start off with the most amazing parts of the Tillamook Creamery.
Abundance of cheeses.
Never in my life have I seen so much cheese, even though my fridge is 60% cheese, piles, yes PILES, of cheese all over the place. The first stop on the self-guided tour is to the cheese sampling stand, they seriously have it all there, and you look and see about 100 bricks of cheese being cubed by an industrial cheese cutter (talk about dream job), and eat your way down the line and into a pleasant cheese coma.
The ENTIRE cheese process.
As a self-guided tour entails, you gotta do it yourself, and you can walk window to window watching the entire process. From milk transportation to the formation of bricks being sent off to be aged nothing is held back. This was a really cool part of the tour because for once there is an honest food company that takes pride in the process and manufacturing of their product AND they aren't hiding anything.
Quick side notes:
1. The cheese goes through a metal detector to make sure none of the machinery got in there (it would hurt if something got in there)
2. All of the cheese blocks have to match a size chart so when you open one of the big bricks of cheese and there is a small unattached piece at the top/side it was added to make sure you get what you're paying for
3. They do not waste any of the cheese when they have to cut it off to make it fit the size, they take it to be made into their shredded cheese, and if that's not super cool, then I don't know what is.
Gift shop transports you to heaven.
If Chip and Joanna Gaines ran a Creamery gift shop, this would be it. Filled with wall to wall fridges filled with you guessed it, CHEESE and local products. I could easily spend my entire paycheck here. Cute sweatshirts, hats, pins, stickers, wooden charcuterie boards (Google what a charcuterie tray is and thank me later) and all the latest inventions (new unreleased flavors of ice cream!!!) I was in heaven. Then I turned the corner to the ice cream parlor area and left with two giant ice cream cones of new flavors (blood orange! yummmmy!)
I could talk about Tillamook cheese for the rest of my life (I probably will) and I strongly encourage anyone to visit if they get the chance.
But the next best place in the entirety of Tillamook, Oregon would be the Blue Heron Creamery, which is known for its (amazing) brie and attached wine area, and surprisingly its petting zoo.
You start off by driving into a petting zoo with llamas, pigs, sheep, and large birds, then you pull up to this house looking area with the most amazing view of the mountains on a clear day, and finally, you're inside where the magic happens. You will think to yourself "a place with animals no thanks" but wait until you try the brie
Zots, Abba Zabas, whistle head candies, Razzles and anything you can remember is probably in their gift store. Then you turn around to see their handmade chocolates and truffles shaped like bees, pigs, rabbits, and more along with beautiful chocolates, caramels, and creams. This place was like candy heaven.
3. The Cheese
Anything really in the store you can sample, or get a cheese tray with all the cheese for you to try, and it is so good. The brie is amazing, and the staff is super friendly when helping you find the right cheese for you.
This cheese vacation was exactly what I needed in my life, and I hope that everyone at some point gets to experience these amazing gift shops. Best weekend vacation of my life!