You're probably familiar with Litehouse salad dressing.... Litehouse is in fact an old Idaho company that has been making blue cheese salad dressing since the 1960s. Originally they purchased the cheese used for the dressings. In 2001 Litehouse brought the cheese production in-house, hiring veteran cheesemaker Ralph Stuart to run the cheesemaking operation. Today, this little blue cheese plant in the heart of downtown Sandpoint, Idaho (otherwise best known as a ski town) produces 1 million pounds of blue cheese per year. Most goes into the dressing but Litehouse also produces a stand alone product, Blue Cheese Crumbles. Or to be accurate, I guess I should say Bleu Cheese Crumbles.
The factory is small but visitors can view the operation from the viewing area that runs alongside the vats. Photos document every step of the operation, from milk to piercing to packaging. As cheese factories go, this is one of the better ones from a visitor's perspective because it's still small enough that it uses open vats and cheeses are molded and flipped right in front of your eyes. The store itself offers the full line of Litehouse salad dressing products (I never knew they made so many dressings, there seems to be at least a million or so), the crumbles as well as cheese curds. The rest of the store is stocked with a whole bunch of locally made products, food and otherwise...you know, homey crafts, homemade chocolates, salmon jerky, huckleberry jam, that kind of thing. To its credit, the store also sells cheese by Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese, an artisan cheese producer near Boise, Idaho. Verdict: worth a visit if you're in the area.
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Litehouse Bleu Cheese Factory 125 S. 2nd Ave. Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 208-263-2030