A Big Thanks to Small Businesses November 29 2013

One thing we're thankful for this year is all of the small businesses that support Ritchie Hill Bakery. Concord businesses like Cabarrus CreameryThe Depot at Gibson Mills, and Peachtree Market were some of the first to carry Heath's Cheese Straws. We couldn't have done it without them.

This small business Saturday, join us in supporting the businesses that make places like Concord so special. And, if you happen to be out shopping on Union Street in Concord this year, check out a few of our favorite lunch spots and places to recharge:

To shop small for Heath's Cheese Straws, visit our list of retailers. Happy shopping!

-The Ritchies


Bear Mincemeat Pie? November 11 2013

Digging through recipes for Thanksgiving, we stumbled upon one family dish that is particularly curious. 

In the “Tested Recipes Cook Book” compiled by The Thursday Sewing Club of Concord, NC in 1935, Mrs. C. F. Ritchie submitted a recipe for “Bear Mincemeat Pie.” We’re pretty sure that caught everyone’s attention!

Now, authentic mincemeat is often made with fruit, beef, even venison … but bear? It’s especially curious given the bear sighting in downtown Concord last summer.

Our copy of the cookbook has “Bear” crossed out in our grandmother’s handwriting and replaced with “Pear.” That makes more sense. Maybe the recipes were tested, just not carefully edited.

We may never know the real story, but it’s a good one to contemplate over a piece of mincemeat pie this Thanksgiving. And, if you happen to have a crowd this year, you’re in luck. Mrs. C.F. Ritchie always cooked for a crowd.

Here's to great stories around the Thanksgiving table, 

The Ritchies

Bear… ahem, Pear Mincemeat Pie


  • One peck of pears
  • Five pounds of brown sugar
  • Two packages of raisins
  • One cup of wine or vinegar or half and half
  • Tablespoon of cinnamon and allspice each
  • Two teaspoons of cloves


Quarter pears and cut out core. Put through meat grinder, also the raisins. Put all together and cook two and one-half hours. Do not peel pears.

That’s all. No instructions on assembling the pie itself.  Maybe no instruction was needed in 1935...

Cooking for a smaller crowd? Try this Southern Living Recipe

Boo! It's fall. September 30 2013

There’s a chill in the air, Halloween candy is back on the shelf, and orange is back in style. Must be fall. Funny how it sneaks up, isn’t it?

Not only is it time for scary masks and overbooked party schedules, but also for Ritchie Hill’s annual Boo! promotion.

Enter the promo code 'Boo!' when you order online, and take 15 percent off everything now through Halloween. It’s our only sale of the year, and a great time to stock up on cheese straws before any other holidays sneak up on you!

It’s fall ya’ll,

The Ritchies

P.S. Throw those cheese straws in the freezer and they’ll stay fresh right through the new year! Give em’ as gifts, if they last that long.


Going Home September 01 2013

For our family, Heath's Cheese Straws are more than a delicacy. They are a reminder of home, of history, of family. And, for our customers, they are a familiar and often nostalgic taste of North Carolina. 

Much of the inspiration behind our brand stems from the Ritchie home, built in 1900 up on "Ritchie Hill." Our logo closely resembles the architectural features of the home's eaves. Even the background of our site is a reminder of the fig tree visible through the kitchen window, where the cheese straw recipe was lovingly perfected for more than 100 years.

After four generations of Ritchies, plenty of cheese straws, and many evenings on the front porch, we had to make a tough decision about the home's destiny. In 2009, we put the house up for sale, searching for a family that would restore its original glory. But, the 'for sale' sign would be short lived. As Heath and Beth founded the bakery, a tremendous response to the release of HEATH'S CHEESE STRAWS inspired us to reconsider.

As autumn arrives, the family home will undergo a full renovation - not only to restore the historic residence to accommodate events, but to retrofit the kitchen for our growing bakery. We'll look forward to posting updates on the renovation as we go.

Ritchie Hill Bakery is moving home. Stay tuned.

Saying "I do" with a southern accent. May 21 2013

Well, it's wedding season again. And, if you're anything like our family, that means you're back on the circuit. Friends, family, food, fun, drinks, dancing, and more airline points. It's a grand time of year.

But, if you're planning a wedding this season, your thoughts may be elsewhere. The question on all bride's minds: what can I do to make my wedding different than the rest?

We think the most memorable weddings are those full of family tradition, with a hint of heritage. 

Here are three of our favorite southern family wedding traditions:
  • Bury the bourbon bottle: So the story goes, bury a bottle of bourbon upside down at the exact site of the ceremony one month before the big day and the skies will be clear and Carolina blue.
  • Mason jars and signature drinks: Southern weddings often hark back to heritage, and a signature drink served cold in a mason jar is just the way to do that. What was your grandfather's or grandmother's favorite cocktail? That's a great place to start.
  • Family recipes: What better way to give guests a taste of home than with a favorite family treat. For us, it's always been about the cheese straws. 

Whatever your tradition, it's the details that make for a memorable occasion. If we can help to give your upcoming wedding a southern accent, just give us a holler.

To a happy wedding season,

The Ritchies


The Recipe for a Ritchie Family Easter: Aunt Margaret's Apricot Cake March 29 2013


Easter is one of our favorite times of year. Finally, it’s spring. Flowers are starting to bloom, charges against Punxsutawney Phil have been dropped, and we have a whole weekend ahead with family and friends.

Here’s a famous recipe from Heath’s Aunt Margaret. Her apricot cake almost always came right after Easter brunch … and after a lot of cheese straws.

Happy Easter!
     - The Ritchies 


Margaret's Apricot Cake 

Cake Ingredients

1 box Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
4 eggs
1 cup apricot nectar
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil

Glaze Ingredients

1 cup confectioners sugar
Juice from 1 lemon

Directions: Beat cake ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased and floured tube or bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes (or until done) in a 325 degree oven. Mix glaze ingredients while cake is baking. Slowly turn out cake while still warm. Drizzle glaze over entire cake. Enjoy!

Fall in love this weekend. February 08 2013

This Saturday afternoon, February 9, Heath will be at Westbend Vineyards and Brewhouse in Lewisville, NC. If you are in the area, please drop by between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. We’ll have Heath's Cheese Straws waiting for you to sample alongside Westbend's very own estate-grown wine and microbrews. We think you’ll fall in love with the combination.

For more information and directions please visit Westbend's web site: www.westbendvineyards.com

See you there!

- The Ritchies

Cheese Straws + Beer = Super Bowl XLVII January 02 2013

Nothing rings in the new year like a quickly approaching Super Bowl. A time of wings, pizza, and (you guessed it) plenty of cheese straws. 

Now, one thing we're hearing from our customers lately is that HEATH'S CHEESE STRAWS sure do go well with a cold beer. So, we decided to look into it ourselves. Here are five beers that pair perfectly with the spicy, cheddar taste of our cheese straws - and one of Heath's favorite pairings for the non-drinkers among us:

Pabst Blue Ribbon: Nothing fancy here, just an everyman's beer perfectly suited for the everyman's cheese straw. 

Carolina Blonde: A light, refreshing beer that compliments our very own North Carolina roots. 

Dogfish 60 Minute IPA: A hoppy, more complex beer with a kick well suited for a spicy cheese straw. Call it a double-whammy.

Negra Modelo: A Mexican beer that goes best with a sharp cheddar taste - the hallmark of a good Mexican meal.

Blue Moon Belgian White: A beer known for the finest, freshest ingredients, just like Heath's Cheese Straws.

Coca-Cola Classic: There's simply nothing like a real coke to cool your taste buds and quench your thirst. Drinking a coke is always better with a straw.

Any other pairings you'd suggest? We'd love your thoughts.

Happy Super Bowl,

The Ritchies