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Destination Inspiration: Monteillet Fromagerie

Monteillet Sheep in Field

One of the highlights of our recent trip to the Walla Walla Valley was an afternoon at Monteillet Fromagerie just outside of Dayton, Washington. When you have just a few nights in Walla Walla, it can be hard to decide whether to dedicate your time to visiting as many wineries as possible or to break it up and check out some of the region’s other specialties as well. However, we highly suggest seeing if you can work the fromagerie into your schedule.

Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet are the couple behind the fromagerie. They lovingly tend French Alpine goats and Friesian and Lacaune sheep on their 32-acre farmstead that seems worlds away from the city life that we’re so used to and that even a smallish town like Walla Walla provides.

Monteillet Cheese

Monteillet Goat


Just visiting the fromagerie is a treat in and of itself, but then you get to taste the cheese. If you choose to do a sampling, you can order a plate of their current cheeses to enjoy at the small counter inside or outside in the garden. If it’s a hot day, a glass of chilled rosé is a welcome pairing.

Location and Atmosphere

If you’re checking out the foodie scene in Waitsburg during your stay in the Walla Walla Valley, a trip to the fromagerie is well worth your time. It’s just eight miles past Waitsburg, and if you get your timing right, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the fromagerie before dinner at the Whoopemup Hollow Cafe. The question is, will you ever want to leave?

That’s right, the Monteillets have created an oasis of sorts in their little corner of Eastern Washington. The world seems to slow down there, and just sitting in their lovely garden has the ability to melt away any tension you may have brought with you.

Monteillet Lanterns

Monteillet Tendril

Writeability and Purchased Presence

Bring a notepad–the same one you use for wine tastings, perhaps–and make notes on the cheeses you taste. Sit back, relax. Observe, brainstorm, dream. Take notes just to help you remember. Otherwise, just enjoy. If the Monteillets have a moment to chat, take the opportunity. You’ll be in for a treat.

The Monteillets also have a gite, or French holiday home, which would make an excellent place for a writer spending a little time away from the busyness of life.


Tasting runs about $10 and a glass of wine is about $5. We also recommend bringing a cooler in case you want to take some cheese home.

Monteillet Sheep

Monteillet Outdoor Kitchen


Parking is abundant here. Drive down the long gravel road until you come upon the tasting room and you’ll be sure to find a place out in front.

Writer’s Tip

Lose yourself in the remote countryside atmosphere. Taste the variety of cheeses and write about your experience. Consider it cheese tasting practice. And, as we always advise, notice the people around you and take notes for future character development. Above all, relax and enjoy yourself!

Find It

Monteillet Fromagerie
109 Ward Rd.
Dayton, WA 99328

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Writer’s Kitchen: Baby Edition

Mac 'n' Cheese

Mac 'n' Cheese

Things look much different in the Writer’s Kitchen since my last post–and in the most wonderful way. I may not have been whipping up homemade marshmallows lately (that will happen again when the little guy is old enough to enjoy those sugary treats), but I have been discovering the exciting world of cooking for babies.

Before I go on, let me assure you that I’m not one of those supermoms who manages to do it all–including cooking every meal for her baby while keeping the house spotless, working her dream job, going out for lunch dates every day and keeping her toes perfectly pedicured. I am, however, managing to feed my baby good, whole food while maintain my writing career. The trick, at least for me, has been identifying how I want to feed my baby (i.e. mostly organic, with safe packaging, and with varied flavors so that he’ll develop a mature palate), and then preparing homemade food when possible and supplementing it with high-quality prepared baby foods in BPA-free pouches (our go-to brands are Happy Baby, Ella’s Kitchen, Sprout, and Plum Organics).

Last week my husband and I took the baby to one of our favorite brewpubs and ordered him his first meal off a kids’ menu: Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Having mostly been fed a healthful diet of milk, fruits, vegetables, and nutritious puffs and cheese cubes for finger food, this new creamy creation was a delight to my son. I cut the fusilli into tiny, bite-size pieces, but even when an entire noodle got past me, the boy was just fine. The dish was such a hit, in fact, that I whipped up a batch of Baby Mac ‘n’ Cheese last night so he could have a more healthful version at home this week.

Our modified recipe went something like this: Cook half a bag of organic pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat whole milk over low heat. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the milk, along with shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven (probably only necessary if you wish to add some Parmesan on top), and allow to cool to an appropriate temperature before serving.

This version is more subtle and less rich than restaurant mac ‘n’ cheese or the kind that comes in a box–probably because it’s a simple mix of pasta, cheese, and milk with no butter, cream, or strange ingredients. But it’s also healthier and lets him practice eating slippery pasta as finger food without making a gooey mess. We’ll graduate to more advanced versions as time goes on (I’m thrilled to have an excuse to find the perfect mac ‘n’ cheese recipe–if you have any pointers, let me know!). But in the meantime, I am proud to know that there are a few servings of pasta, made with a mama’s love, in the fridge for my son.