Where to find the best cheese in the Sierra.

By Troy Matthews, Elevation Eats

Scientists say cheese is an addicting substance. At Elevation Eats, we don’t condone drug use, so cheese may be our next best bet. The beauty of cheese is its simplicity while remaining enormously complex in texture and flavor. There are literally hundreds of types of cheese that all share the same basic recipe and whether it’s cow, goat, buffalo, sheep, or even combinations thereof, there are plenty of cheese experts around here offering the good stuff.

The best of Sierra Charcuterie

Great restaurants know a simple plate of fine cheese and cured meats, known as charcuterie, is an easy and excellent first round to a top-notch meal.

In South Lake Tahoe, definitely check out The Lake House. The charcuterie plate will be just the beginning of a beautiful meal. Chef Jimi Nakamatsu is a local legend who loves to surprise guests with spur-of-the-moment specials not featured on the menu. thelakehousetahoe.com

Hit up The Bistro at Edgewood Resort for a fine dining lunch after a morning of golf (golf definitely optional). With incredible lake views and some of the best food in Tahoe, The Bistro offers an artisan cheese plate complemented by assorted fruits, in addition to the charcuterie which also features crispy breads with mustards and jams. edgewoodtahoe.com

If golf followed by lunch is your thing, also check out The Grille at the Chateau on the North Shore. Overlooking the 18th hole at the Incline Village Championship Golf Course, The Grille serves delicious Americana favorites for lunch and a great happy hour, with a cheese plate that features jardiniere, a sweet Italian pepper relish. yourtahoeplace.com

Cheese is a cornerstone of living the good life.

Just at the bottom of the mountain in the quaint town of Genoa, is the fabulous Pink House (yes, it’s pink). Have tea and scones with friends in a 19th century Gothic Revival style mansion while sampling gourmet local faire, including a customizable cheese board platter with a house-baked baguette, honey and fruit. thepinkhousegenoa.com

Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange

In Reno, don’t miss Liberty Food & Wine Exchange. Chef Mark Estee puts charcuterie at the center of a shared plates menu featuring high-quality farm-to-table ingredients. Try their charcuterie plate with jardiniere, pickles, and olives, a cheese board with nuts and chutney, AND cheese fondue with sausage and potatoes. A must. libertyfoodandwine.com

The Cheese Board
The Cheese Board

Also, in the biggest little city, The Cheese Board is a bistro and catering company that describes itself as a “cheese and wine boutique.” Enjoy the relaxed vibe in a great dining room and sample the warm brie with apple garlic jam, and the cheese board with a wedge of buttermilk blue, manchego, and port salut cheese served with fresh and dried fruit, candied mixed nuts, apple jalapeno jam, baguette and crackers. cheeseboardcatering.com

The whey it’s made

While these great restaurants get the credit for assembling inspired artisan charcuterie, the real star of the cheese world is the producers who create all that delicious gooey goodness. Two are right here in the Sierra.

Based in Reno, Pacific Cheese Company has been in the Gaddis family for nearly 50 years. They were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the west coast/California cheese industry and continue to be a premium supplier of high-quality natural cheeses to both restaurants and food retailers. pacificcheese.com

Sierra Nevada Cheese Company in Willows produces a wide range of locally sourced cow and goat milk dairy products from small, family run ranches. They are committed to producing raw milk cheese (straight from the cow) with zero processed ingredients. sierranevadacheese.com

The best things in life are cheese

To make your own charcuterie at home and impress your friends, purchase cheese from these producers and others at some amazing specialty wine and cheese grocery stores. The Cork & More in South Lake Tahoe is a locals’ favorite family run wine shop and deli with top-quality meats, olives and, of course, cheeses that you can sample while tasting the latest vintages from local wineries. thecorkandmore.com

Tucked away in a corner of Main Street Placerville, Dedrick’s Cheese is a must for locavore connoisseurs. Featuring over 200 cheeses, fresh baked breads, and desserts, Dedrick’s is a one-stop shop to prep a picnic for foothill wine tasting. facebook.com/dedrickscheese

For a mind-blowing selection of all thing’s gourmet, check out Market 28 Specialty Foods in Tahoe City. Featuring tasting flights of olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and, oh my goodness, chocolate, Market 28 is a foodie dream come true. They offer a seasonal selection of handcrafted artisan cheeses satisfying any palate. market-28.com

Finally, The Pour House Wine Shop in Truckee is like Disneyland for winos complete with an entire wall of cheese selections from around the world. Check out their great selection of wine and cheese gift baskets for someone you truly care about. thepourhousetruckee.com

Cheese is universal. Good cheese complements every meal. Like wine and chocolate, cheese is a cornerstone of living the good life. Thankfully, excellent high-quality natural cheese and the best ingredients to pair it with are never too far away, right here in the Sierra.