Monthly Archives: January 2013
I was recently contacted by Keith Alm about reviewing his family’s cheese straws. His mother, Beth Alm, and uncle, Heath Ritchie, are the founders of Ritchie Hill Bakery in Concord, NC. Keith described their straws to me as “the “everyman’s” cheese straws – authentic, simple, not over engineered.” Heath Ritchie has used the same recipe that his grandmother baked her first batch of cheese straws almost a century ago.
The spicy bite-sized treats are a simple recipe: flour, cheese, margarine, baking powder, cayenne pepper, egg, salt and water plus whatever variation that the baker decides to customize the recipe with. Cheese straws are commonly found throughout the south but it is rare to find a bakery or cook that knows how to make them correctly. I have tried a variety of different cheese straws throughout my life and these stood out as being in the top tier of the one’s that I have tried.
Heath’s Cheese Straws come in a resealable package and stay crisp and fresh for three months without refrigeration. They can also be frozen and will stay fresh for up to six months. Ritchie Hill Bakery makes the cheese straws in small batches everyday to make sure that their customers are receiving them as fresh as possible.
Ritchie Hill Bakery is currently offering two different packages through their website. The small package contains approximately three and a half dozen cheese straws for $5.95 and the large contains approximately six dozen cheese straws for $9.95. There is also a gift-wrapped version which contains approximately twelve dozen cheese straws and is professionally wrapped with a ribbon and tin.
I recommend buying the largest size that you can because these cheese straws can become highly addictive soon after your first bite. They have a deliciously sharp cheddar flavor followed by a subtle spicy kick that isn’t too intense or too spicy for the average consumer. They are great hor d’oeuvres or party snacks to place in a bowl that your guests will enjoy.