Tour The Biggest Cheese Factory in Amish Country
Standing outside this sprawling cheese wonderland, you half expect to hear an Alpine horn playing in the distance. One look at the classic Swiss-style chalet exterior gives the impression that you have been transported to a simpler place and time. Instead, you step inside and are greeted with a great selection of Amish food products — best of all, the cheese. Ah yes, the cheese. Heini's Cheese Chalet is one of our favorite stops in Ohio's Amish Country.
Heini's is the home of the Bunker Hill Cheese company, which was established by John Dauwalder in 1935. It's a third generation family-owned company today, and Heini's Cheese Chalet is the popular retail store attached to the cheese factory where you can buy tons of delicious cheese, locally-made jams and jellies, honey, smoked meats, and other area specialties. You can also see the cheese making process and learn about the history of cheesemaking firsthand.
Inside Heini's Cheese Chalet is an expansive mural painted on the wall. It illustrates a history of cheesemaking that dates back centuries and was painted by Tom Miller in 1970. It's fascinating to scroll through the mural and learn about the history of cheese and how it came to Amish country.
Right next to the mural is a large viewing window through which you can view the cheese-making process. Currently, Heini’s produces cheese about three or four days each week, depending on the market demand. About 21,000 lbs. of cheese are made each week, and through the large glass windows that peer into the factory, you see huge stainless steel vats filled with milk.
All of the milk used by Heini’s comes from local dairy farms, and never includes additives, artificial coloring, or growth hormones. You can see the curds and whey being separated before being pressed into molds to become creamy, delicious cheese.
Make sure to walk through the cheese room. Here, case after case is filled with Heini’s more than 50 varieties of cheese — from Swiss and Gouda to spreads, dips, and cheese fudge. Grab a basket from the start of the line so that you can stock up on your favorites.
Most popular among visitors are Heini’s Raw Milk cheeses and yogurt cheese, which is a lactose-free variety. Heini’s was actually the first cheesemaker to produce yogurt cheese in the 1970s, and today, they sell flavored varieties of this perennial favorite. Yogurt cheese is lower in fat, mildly flavored, and semi-soft, making it a highly palatable choice.
Heini’s has been named Ohio’s Favorite Cheesemaker by Ohio Magazine, and once you’ve visited, it’s not hard to see why.