My husband and I began our adventure to Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio on Thursday, May 8, 2014. We had consulted our Williams Guide to Amish Country to figure out where we wanted to go and see. The weather was perfect for our three hour drive from northern Cincinnati to our first stop at Heini’s Cheese Chalet, 6005 County Highway 77, Millersburg, Ohio 44654, and phone: 1-800-253-6636, website www.heinis.com. Parking is plentiful and free. They open at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, but only make cheese on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Heini’s is more than just a cheese shop. We started with a delightful tour of the on-site cheese making operation. A friendly, elderly Amish man named Atlee gave us a tour that started with the history of cheese making before showing us their factory. He explained their entire process including where they get the milk for their cheese (only from hand milked cows, no machine milked cows need apply), and how much milk it takes to make a pound of cheese (10 pound of milk equal one pound of cheese). Atlee was a delight to listen to and at no time did the tour lag
After the cheese making tour, we went into the store and were amazed by the huge selection of cheeses, with free samples awaiting for us to try. I must have tried at least 20 different cheeses, but there were many, many more samples out that I didn’t even sample. If you are a cheese lover like me, you will be in heaven at Heini’s. Besides an unbelievably large amount of varieties of cheese, they also have cheese dips and spreads, and another product I have never heard of before, cheese fudge, which is sweet and delicious. And for the lactose intolerant, they have yogurt cheese which is supposed to be okay for those who can’t digest lactase.
Atlee gave us a tip during the tour. He told us about the “cheese ends”. These are pieces of cheese that are left after they cut the cheese into smaller squares for packaging. Cheese ends are priced at $3.29 a pound! We picked up a couple, a mild cheddar for us and a hot jalapeno for my brother-in-law.
Other refrigerated open cases hold smoked meats, kielbasas, and trail bologna. Around the corner, is a table full of candy and a baking supply display. The prices on the baking supplies were excellent. They had every color of jimmies, sprinkles, and colored sugar you could ever want for $1.35 - $1.50. They also had dozens of cookie cutters. I got several small cookie cutters shaped like a heart, football, angel, gingerbread boy, and turkey for $0.70 each. The cookie cutters are not cheap plastic; they are metal. Other displays held salad dressings, nuts, fudge, jellies, jams, preserves, and locally made maple syrup.
Our stop at Heini’s Cheese Chalet was fun, filling, and frugal. It started our day off right and I highly recommend a visit to Heini’s if you are in the Holmes County, Ohio area.