Hidden in the heart of historically dairy-rich Orange County, NC (on a previous tobacco farm where Cindy West grew up) our small, boutique creamery focuses on the art of cheese-making. Our French-trained chef & cheese-maker, Cindy, handcrafts small batches of many varieties of quality fresh & aged cheeses using goat’s and cow’s milk. Focusing mostly on traditional European-style cheeses, Cindy and our staff also experiment with and create some of their own unique cheese blends tailored to our local community’s tastes. We believe in simple, no-nonsense cheese that is delicious and accessible.
Cindy West – Owner & Head Cheesemaker
accounting but soon traded in her spread sheets for her true passion: food and
cooking. Cindy started out catering and cooking in various restaurants in the
United States and France including Automatic Slims in Memphis, TN; and
Restaurant Christian Etienne in Avignon, France. She earned a culinary degree
from the Memphis Culinary Academy and spent a year at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France where she graduated second in her class with honors and earned a Grand Diplome in Cuisine and Pastry. After returning from France, she put her extensive training and experience to use at Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC where she worked under owners Karen and Ben Barker.
Her career evolved into cheese making as a way to continue with her passion for food but still be at home with her 2 young children. A self-taught cheese-maker, Cindy started making small batches of European style, cow and goat milk cheeses that she had fallen in love with in France and soon couldn’t keep up with the demand. Her hobby quickly became a thriving business focused on creating the highest quality, hand-crafted, artisan cheeses, using the freshest, most sustainably produced local milk. Asked how she learned her craft so well, Cindy laughs and says, “I made a lot of bad cheese!” Hillsborough Cheese Company now provides cheese to numerous farmer’s markets, restaurants, wineries, and specialty food stores in Central North Carolina, always with a focus on quality over quantity.
Cindy also believes in giving back to the community that has supported her for so long. She is a very passionate locavore and has spent countless hours helping to start two new Farmers Markets: South Estes Farmers’ Market (now Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market) in Chapel Hill, NC & Eno River Farmers’ Market in Hillsborough, NC. She is a Founding Member and has served on both Boards of Directors for these markets as well as having successfully raised thousands of dollars in grant money. She has also donated her time teaching other budding cheese makers the art of cheese-making as well as teaching workshops at local cooking schools. Most importantly, she has been an inspiration to her children, husband, and community who have been amazed at what she has created by simply following her passion.
Matt Lardie – Manager & Cheesemaker
A native of Connecticut, Matt graduated from Elon University in 2006 and moved around the country before settling back in North Carolina in 2008. Matt joined Hillsborough Cheese Company in 2009 and became the full-time manager in 2010. His focus is on the day-to-day operation of the cheese kitchen, including cheesemaking, record-keeping, and endless hours of cleaning. He also represents Hillsborough Cheese Company at various events and forums throughout the Triangle.
Press & Awards
- Carolina Inn’s Crossroads Restaurant Introduces Summer Menus
- “Craft Beer and Artisan Cheese”, All About Beer Magazine, March 2010
- 2009 Women Chef’s & Restaurateurs Finalist Cindy West
- “Frittata for Father’s Day”, Chapelboro.com
- “Local creamery owners and cheesemakers find their calling”, The Independent Weekly
- “What goes well with cheese? Almost everything.”, The Independent Weekly