The Tillamook cheese factory sits in a small town in the far northern corner of Oregon. A charming setting for a charming cheese factory, one that has managed to remain small in feeling while growing wide in distribution.
While the cheese with the iconic ship on the package is easy to find in stores all over the US, Tillamook has managed to keep a small town feeling to what they’re doing. The cows all graze happily no more than 80 miles from the factory, the cheese makers all must learn how to make the 100 year old recipe the old fashion way (by hand in big metal tubs) before being allow to touch the machinery, the Board of Directors is made up exclusively of the farmers who own those happy local cows, and Tillamook farmers never use artificial growth hormones.
I was able to visit and sample (read: gorge myself) on the award wining cheese that Tillamook produces. From hand made special cheese like the Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar and the Garlic Chili Pepper Cheese (my favorite) to the award winning Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar, and even the (only available at the factory) Cheese Curds.
I even came back with a suitcase full of Baby Loaf sized cheeses, ready for more of that cheese sampling (gorging) in my own home. Turning these brick sized hunks of cheese into several sharable treats, like this dip.
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sour cream ( I used Tillamook Sour Cream)
- 2 cups extra sharp white cheddar (I used Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar)
- 1 tbs Sriracha red pepper sauce
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Cut the top tip of the head garlic off, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place garlic on a separate piece of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil around the garlic.
- Place garlic packet on a baking sheet or baking dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In a food processor, add the cream cheese, cornstarch, sour cream, white cheddar and Sriracha. Squeeze the head of garlic until the cloves come out, add the soft cloves to the food processor, discard the rest of the head.
- Process until smooth.
- Add dip to a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbling. Transfer to a serving dish.