Cheese Louise, in Richland, WA, offers around 60 cheeses on a regular basis. Co-owners Bill and Tamara Krieger bring in additional cheeses for special events or occasions, such as Beecher’s Yule Käse, Rogue River Creamery’s limited-edition blues, and Okanogan Maple Leaf from Larkhaven Farm. Around half of their cheeses are from the US (and these are mostly focused on regional cheeses of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Utah). Cheese Louise also carries cheeses from the British Isles, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
They also carry a wide range of wines and craft beers, with 17 wines available by the glass and about 60 by the bottle. Since Cheese Louise is in the heart of Washington wine country, they have many wines from Walla Walla and Columbia Valley, while also stocking an array of French, Spanish, and Italian wines. They also have two sommeliers on staff to help customers make their selections. Bill recently shared a bottle of Kabinett Riesling with friends and laid out a board with Midnight Moon, Petit Livarot, and Zamorano. He enjoyed all the cheeses with the Riesling, although Zamorano seemed to be the crowd favorite.
Along with the cheese, wine, beer, and gifts available for purchase at Cheese Louise, they have a bistro-style restaurant that serves soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, cheese plates, mezze plates, and other food items. Bill’s favorite cheese-centric fall food is French onion soup. Cheese Louise also has live music on many Friday and Saturday evenings.
Cheese Louise has a very strong community focus and tries to support the area with special events, such as the “Curds for a Cure” they recently held to raise funds for local breast cancer victims and survivors. Since they are close to the Richland Players Theater, many guests stop in during the intermission, and Cheese Louise has an arrangement so they know when to blink their lights to let folks know they should return to their seats.
Cheese Louise offers cheese classes, including a “Cheese 101” class that presents the basics of cheese types, selection, care, and presentation (including some elements of pairing). They also offer classes in wine and cheese, beer and cheese, coffee and cheese, and special types (all blues, all washed-rind, etc.). Classes typically last 2-3 hours and include tasting, pairing suggestions, and basic presentations about cheesemaking, along with some history.
Cheese Louise is open from 11 am – 6 pm Monday and Tuesday, 11 am – 8 pm Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 am – 11 pm Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sundays, except during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. From May to October, the shop opens at 9 am on Fridays with a special breakfast menu for the Farmers’ Market.