If you love cheese, you need to plan a trip to this charming, cheese-filled town ASAP.
When you think of cheese destinations, your mind probably flashes first to the charming small towns dotting the countryside of Wisconsin, where curds outnumber people 50,000 to one.
Or perhaps you think about some of the famous creameries based along the coast of northern California and sold in grocery store cases nationwide.
You probably don’t think of Longmont, Colorado, but as a resident and a cheese lover, I’m here to tell you that you should.
Longmont is a veritable cheese-lovers’ paradise. In addition to being a totally charming, affordable city with easy access to Denver, Longmont has some incredible cheese offerings for people who just can’t get enough of the gouda stuff (see what we did there?).
The headliner of Longmont’s cheese attraction line-up? The family-owned Cheese Importers, which has been around since 1976 and is a combination of French bistro, European-inspired marketplace and epic cheese shop all in one.
The folks here take cheese very seriously.
Samm White, one of the co-owners of Cheese Importers, went so far as to call cheese “a wonderful, magical, love powerhouse of a food.â€ Have you ever heard a more apt description of cheese?
Hands down, the best part about visiting Cheese Importers is walking into the massive walk-in refrigerator filled floor to ceiling with more than 350 different types of cheeses available for purchase (it’s reportedly the largest in Colorado). Imagine a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kidsâ€ scenario where you get to wander through a life-size version of your local grocery store’s cheese cooler, and you get the idea of what a trip to Cheese Importers is like (they even have cozy parkas hanging up to wear if you get cold!).
If literally being surrounded by cheese is your idea of heaven, you’ll want to consider making a pilgrimage to Longmont just for this experience at Cheese Importers alone – it’s truly magical.
If you don’t want to wait until you get home (or, at least, out to your car) to start eating cheese from the giant fridge at Cheese Importers, you can choose from the on-site bistro’s cheese and fruit plate, charcuterie board, brie and berries appetizer and tons of other cheesy options.
Longmont’s cheese offerings don’t stop there: the city is also home to The Art of Cheese, which offers regular classes and events ranging from cheesemaking “bootcampâ€ to creamery tours. You’ll get to meet other turophiles (a fancy word for cheese connoisseur – hey, now you know!) while learning how to make mozzarella, ricotta, burrata, cheese curds, feta and tons of other varieties. Some of the classes are farm-to-table, meaning you’ll get to meet and milk dairy goats, learn about pasteurization and tour a farm before making your own cheese.
Want to try more of Longmont’s local offerings? Check out the popular and supremely delicious goat cheeses from Haystack Mountain, with chevre flavors ranging from dill and garlic to cracked pepper. What started as a small, hobby-style operation in 1989, with homemade cheeses for sale at local farmers markets, has since expanded into a full-blown creamery – you can buy Haystack cheese at Whole Foods and tons of grocery stores across Colorado and elsewhere.
Interestingly, Haystack gets its goat milk from Skyline Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado, where prison inmates run the day-to-day operations of a goat dairy. Haystack also makes some cheese from cow’s milk (or a blend of cow and goat’s milk) with help from Longmont Dairy, a local dairy that offers home delivery for milk and other products.
You can also get a private tour of the Haystack Mountain creamery, which includes a guided cheese tasting.
Is your mouth watering yet? Time to plan a cheese pilgrimage to Longmont. We’ll bring the crackers, you bring the wine.