Winter in the Heber Valley offers a wide variety of great outdoor recreation from Ice Castles, tubing and cross country skiing at Solider Hollow, to sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. However, not everyone enjoys bundling up from head to toe to brave cold weather. Now would be good time to go visit the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese Factory in Midway.
Originally a simple dairy farm that has been in the Kohler Family for a few generations, the cheese factory got its beginning at the crossroads of adapt and survive or dwindle and close the doors. Lucky for you and me, they saw an opportunity in niche dairy offerings such as cheese and raw milk products and have been producing some finest, tastiest, awarding winning cheeses in the country.
I say lucky for us because not only do they offer a wide variety of cheeses for purchase in their store, along with some of the best ice cream in the state, Aggie Ice Cream, they also let you and I help pick the cheeses that make it to the market.
A few times a week the Kohlers hold cheese tasting events at their iconic red barn in Midway. During these events you are taken on a brief tour of the factory in which you learn about their cheese making process. They also take you into what is affectionately called “the Cave” where they age all their cheeses before they are ready for tasing. Cheeses can age for several weeks to months and even years. They even have cheese from their first batch of cheese ever in 2011.
Then the fun happens. After the tour you are lead to a table with dozens of cheeses, and with a clipboard in hand, water and apples to cleanse the palette, you become an official cheese taste tester. While sampling the different cheeses and mingling with fellow tasters, you are asked to rate the cheeses. Don’t take this job too lightly, because what you say helps them decide if and when certain cheeses make it to market….but really it’s all in good fun.
Cheese tasting isn’t the only activities Heber Valley Cheese offers, they also have mozzarella making classes in which you learn the tricks of the trade to making fresh mozzarella cheese. You even get a kit to take home with you to make your own cheese, trust me this cheese is tasty!
Heber Valley Artisan Cheese has also attracted some media buzz lately. Not only is their cheese winning awards for being so tasty, it is also helping others win awards. In November a chef from Salt Lake City won $10,000 at a cooking competition in Las Vegas and he credits his victory to using Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. Even local restaurants around the Heber Valley are using the fresh local flavors of the award winning cheese from the cheese factory.
So if you’re looking for something else to do this winter that doesn’t involve the white powdery stuff outside head over to Heber Valley Artisan Cheese.