How to eat like a local
Updated: May 31, 2019
For more than 50 years, Heini’s Cheese Chalet has produced award-winning cheese made from milk sourced exclusively from local dairy farms. Tourists travel from across the globe to sample the more than 50 kinds of cheese available in the wandering, winding tasting room. Known to some as the “Disneyland of cheese,” the experience of tasting nearly every variety of cheese that Heini’s sells is one that draws tourists and locals alike.
Back in the day
What began as Bunker Hill Cheese in 1932 became Heini’s, a name representative of the Swiss culture, where owners Lili and John Dauwalder have their roots. Originally a two-kettle operation, today, Heini’s produces around 21,000 lbs. of cheese each week.
Visitors are invited to watch the cheese-making process on days when the factory is in action. Large glass windows look into the production facility, where gallons of milk are poured into vats, separated into curds and whey, and pressed to make creamy, delicious cheese products.
30 different kinds of cheese are made on-site by Heini’s
30 different kinds of cheese are made on-site by Heini’s, including the increasingly popular Yogurt Cheese varieties (a lactose-free option) and raw milk cheeses. Lacey Baby Swiss and Gouda are old favorites that are still quite popular today.
For the last five years, Heni’s has been named Ohio’s Favorite Cheesemaker by Ohio Magazine, and it’s not hard to see why. The Jersey cheese, made from 100% Jersey cow milk, won 1st place in the Open Class category at the Ohio State Fair in 2017.More than just cheese
A popular item is Heini’s cheese fudge, which has a cream cheese base. It comes in a handful of sweet flavor options, including peanut butter-chocolate, nutty pecan, and even a fruity cheesecake variety. In addition to cheese, Heini’s offers a selection of candies, snacks, homemade fudge, and locally made gourmet foods.
These are on display in the Experience Room, where they are usually available to sample (in case you didn’t fill up on cheese samples!) A selection of bulk foods is also available, and Heini’s also offers refrigerated bags and styrofoam coolers for those who need to keep their purchases cool on the trip home.
This is a company that has a focus on relationships — with the customers, with their employees, and with the farmers who supply their milk.
For those looking for an illustration of the history of cheesemaking, a beautiful mural sprawls across the wall of Heini’s showroom, depicting a thorough history of cheesemaking throughout the centuries. It was painted by Tom Miller in 1970.
What sets Heini’s apart from other cheesemakers is their dedication to using only local, farm-fresh milk, and the commitment to never using additives, artificial colorings, or artificial growth hormones. This is a company that has a focus on relationships — with the customers, with their employees, and with the farmers who supply their milk.
To experience cheesemaking in action, call ahead to schedule a tour on one of the days that Heini’s is producing cheese. Details can be found at www.heinis.com or by calling (330) 893-2131.