Ashe County Cheese is located in Jefferson, NC a beautiful little town tucked away in the mountainous Ashe County. It has been around since 1930 when the Kraft Cheese Corporation provided the means and knowledge for several cheese plants in the area to distribute nationwide. Kraft then sold the plant in 1975 to the manager who owned it until his death in 1980; Ashe County Cheese has since changed ownership several times and been renovated. It now has a viewing room in the plant where you can come during business hours and watch cheese being made. They have come a long way from producing only cheddar cheese and now offer several different mouth-watering flavors. The plant has become a popular tourist attraction for North Carolina.
Fortunately for you, Ashe County Cheese is back on the Papa Spud’s order page and we are offering six of their most popular cheeses:
Ashe Co. Extra Sharp Cheddar– each batch takes over 18 months to age into a creamy, crumbly texture that blossoms with flavor in your mouth.
Ashe Co. Monterey Jack– this cheese has a fresh, mild flavor. Perfect for salads, enchiladas, or topping any snack.
Buffalo Jack– traditional Monterey Jack blended with a spicy Buffalo seasoning.
Tomato & Basil– sun-dried tomatoes and basil added to creamy Monterey Jack cheese to create this beautiful, delicious cheese.
Pepper Jack– the perfect union of mellow Monterey Jack with spicy jalapeños to create a creamy cheese with attitude!
Habanero Cheddar-a fiery cheddar that offers a blazing taste experience!
I have to confess that I love cheese, perhaps to a Wallace and Gromit level.
My mind automatically goes to the multitude of exciting dishes you can make with fancy cheeses: grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, pasta dishes, cheese dips, cheese and crackers, and the list goes on. I find great joy in crazy grilled cheese sandwiches, and looking at this list of different flavors of cheese, here are a few ideas to spice up your grilled cheese game.
Extra Sharp Cheddar: The sharp and tangy cheddar flavor is great when tastefully balanced with apples and caramelized onions. This is a great sandwich for a chilly day and good book.
Monterey Jack: If you’re feeling particularly British, the mild flavor of Monterey Jack can be complimented with apricot jam (or whatever kind of jam you have in your cabinet). Further the theme with a hot cup of black tea and an episode of Sherlock. Of course, I couldn’t make all of these sandwiches and take pictures so I decided to indulge in this one.
Buffalo Jack: For all you wings lovers out there, try this Buffalo Jack cheese with shredded chicken, bacon, and ranch or blue cheese dressing. This sandwich is best accompanied with a beer and a basketball game.
Tomato and Basil: Jumpstart your day with a healthy fried egg, arugula, and tomato and basil cheese open-faced sandwich (if you like mayonnaise it would be a great addition). This mix of mild and spicy flavors will wake you up and nourish your body.
Pepper Jack: Enjoy the spice of pepper jack cheese with avocado, tomato, and red onion for some Southwestern flavors. If you’re feeling ambition you can make some homemade lemonade to cool off the heat.
Habanero Cheddar: Lightly spread some refried black beans on a slice of bread, sprinkle on some onions and cilantro, layer on the habanero cheddar cheese, and grill to perfection. You could top with salsa for even more flavor. Homemade refried black beans are so easy to make and much better for you than the canned version: just soak black beans overnight, simmer with onions, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper for about 2 hours, mash and fry in a pan in butter for about 4 minutes and serve.
Ashe County Cheese is a delightful treat from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and I like to think that this makes it taste even better. Hopefully you enjoy these fancy grilled cheese sandwiches or at least feel a little inspired by them. I’d love to hear your feedback or even your favorite recipes for fancy grilled cheese!