Cows don’t mind rain. In fact, they probably appreciate the green grass it produces. Rain in Tillamook is one of the big reasons they make the greatest cheese in the world. (At least it’s Chris’s favorite!) We learned that Tillamook is the name of the Native Americans who lived in this area many years ago.
We toured the super-clean factory and tasted samples from squeaky to 60-day aged. They weren’t sampling Chris’s favorite, Special Reserve, aged over 15 months. (It’s available in a 2-pound loaf at Costco in the west.) Then we discovered Tillamook ice cream, another tasty product of well-nourished cows.
Nearby is another cheese house, Blue Heron. This is a sampler’s heaven, with 50 or more delicious jams, mustards, and dips. Wine too. We picked up Brie with peppercorns and a sourdough baguette.
What goes with bread and cheese? Wine! Off to McMinnville at the northern end of the Willamette Valley, home of Oregon’s renowned Pinot Noirs. It’s pronounced Will-AM-ette (accent on the second syllable).
We visited three vineyards. Domaine Drouhin is run by a French family; the winemaker is a woman. This is one of the cleanest wine-making facilities we’ve ever seen. The wine was quite smooth.
At Domaine Serene, we had a small-world experience, with the server having been raised in Irondequoit NY, two blocks from a spot where Nancy once lived. More tasty wine!
Finally at Stoller, we had not only excellent Pinot Noirs, but some very good Chardonnays as well. Our server was a man close to our age, who had been in the construction business and was now studying full-time for a degree in viticulture. Sounds like an appealing post-career career.
Dinner that night was our Brie and baguette with Bing cherry jam. Delicious!