Forty five minutes Northwest of Huntsville is the tiny little town of Elkmont, Alabama.
Don’t believe me on the tiny part? At the time of the last census there were 470 people living there. Doesn’t that just illicit an awwww from you?
I wasn’t interested in the number of people living there so much as I was the cheese that is made there, the goat cheese to be more specific. That’s because Elkmont is the home of Belle Chèvre Creamery. If you’ve never tasted any of Belle Chevre’s goat cheese my, oh my, might I recommend it?
We decided to go to Belle Chèvre one blustery day a few months ago. I took Hank, the eight year old, and my Mom. The creamery is housed in this beautiful building with the cafe located just around the corner. For $10 per person you can take a tour of the factory. This includes the tour, an opportunity to pet the goats, and a tasting.
We opted to take the self guided tour although we could have called ahead to take a guided tour. Since I had a the eight year old with me I thought the self guided tour was a better option – just in case he got a case of the… oh, how shall we say it… well, just in case he got a case of Eight-Year-Olditis.
To begin the tour we watched a short film on how Belle Chèvre came to be and how goat cheese is made. I know – I was surprised! You might be stifling a yawn at the thought of watching an instructional film but I promise it was a really interesting and even funny!
The tour itself was short but very entertaining.
Observing the cheese making process was really neat. I loved seeing the curds being shaped into delicious bars of cheese. They also had several cheese making tools on display. The gift shop had some really cool items. Soap made from goat’s milk and even a Make Your Own Cheese Kit – one for adults and one for kids.
And after seeing all that touring we were hungry! On to the tasting! Objects in picture are even more delicious than they appear! We sampled everything – my personal favorite was the fig flavored breakfast cheese.
After the tour and the tasting we wandered out to visit the goats. Does this goat look guilty? He should. He ate a piece of our Belle Chèvre information sheet!
Actually, the less said about the goat the better. There may have been an incident. A goat may have escaped. We may have had to run off down an old railroad track to catch him. We may never be allowed at Belle Chèvre again.
The people couldn’t have been any nicer (even if we did accidentally let one of their goats out… allegedly) and it really was a fun trip. This would be great to do with a Supper Club or any group of friends.
Might I offer one suggestion? Running right beside Belle Chèvre is an entrance to the Richard Martin Rails to Trails project. If you’re not familiar with the Rails To Trails Project it’s an initiative that takes old railroad tracks and turns them into hiking trails. We’ve hiked on them before. What a fun day trip that would be! A tour of Belle Chèvre and then a nice long hike or bike ride (with mountain bikes – it’s a little rocky) to a an old civil war bridge. Learning, cheese tasting and misplaced goats…what better way to spend a day?
Belle Chevre Creamery Tour
Address: 18849 Upper Fort Hampton Road, Elkmont, AL (map)
Phone: 256-732-3577 (Cheese Shop)
Cost: (Self-guided) $10 per person and free for children under 4
(Guided) $12 per person and free for children under 4
Paula Claunch is a local parent, blogger, extrovert, traveller, Auburn fan, and Expert Laundry Avoider at AKA Jane Random. Because procrastinating while blogging is way more fun than just procrastinating. And because the laundry pile grows and is ever-present.