Oregon Cheese Trail

Greg Robeson and Sarah Marcus, Guest Author
June 17, 2013 (Updated August 28, 2013)

Sarah Marcus has followed both her passion and a dream. While working at other careers, she began to make cheese at home, curious about the art and science of cheesemaking. Starting in the spring of 2005, Sarah worked behind the counter at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, selling and learning about some of the world’s finest cheeses. It was only a matter of time before her love affair with curd was in full bloom, sending her on the road to fully embrace what she calls her ultimate love. In 2008 she moved with her husband to Dundee, where they launched Briar Rose Creamery two years later. Sarah has received numerous awards for her fresh chevre, aged cheeses and euphoria-inducing chocolate chevre. Here’s how Sarah recommends spending a few days around Oregon on a cheese-filled road trip.

Get out the camera
Stop in at Face Rock Creamery in Bandon, where you can watch cheddar being made and buy it at the source. Grab some fresh, squeaky curds or a piece of cheddar, some locally made salami and a bottle of Oregon pinot noir and head to the beach. It’s one of the best spots on the Oregon Coast for beachcombing, tidepools and kite flying. Huge, ancient rock formations stick out of the sand like old shipwrecks.

Can’t-miss meal
Rogue Creamery in Central Point is a must-stop destination down in Southern Oregon. Whenever I’m visiting the creamery and cheese shop, I make a beeline over to Buttercloud Bakery just down the road in Medford. They bake some of the best biscuits on the planet, but what keeps me coming back is their mac-n-cheese. They use Rogue Creamery’s blue cheese and cheddars, and it’s baked to perfection.

You’ve gotta see this
If you’re driving through McMinnville, take time to visit the legendary Spruce Goose at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. It really is huge. There’s also a water park next door where you can slide out of the belly of a 747. Afterwards, head into Dundee and grab some cheese & charcuterie at the Red Hills Market. It’s well-stocked cheese counter and marketplace highlight the local bounty.

Unique sleeps
The Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard is tucked up in the Red Hills of Dundee. It’s a beautiful, Tuscan-inspired villa with panoramic views of the Willamette Valley, Mt. Hood and the Cascade Mountains. You are surrounded by some of the most sought-after wineries in the state, and two celebrated cheesemakers are within an hour’s drive (Willamette Valley Cheese Company, and Briar Rose Creamery). Plus it’s less than an hour from Portland’s hot restaurant scene. What could be better?

A treat worth driving out of your way
It’s definitely the Cheese Bar In Portland, where you can buy from the best cheesemonger in the country, Steve Jones. The Bar has a beautifully managed counter offering artisan cheeses from all over the world, with a focus on Oregon. You can sit for a while and enjoy a cheese board, cured meat board and one of the best sandwiches in Portland.

Looking for more culinary inspiration? Check out our other Trails to Feast around the state.