Love at First Bite – Cheesecake Carousel

When you have the opportunity to sample cheesecakes, you don’t ask when or where.  You just get in the car and go. 

As a team member for Charlotte Food Adventures, I received the invitation to check out Cheesecake Carousel in Rock Hill, SC.  I’m not very familiar with Rock Hill, but knew the business was located in the downtown area.

Cheesecake Carousel was very easy to find.  It is less than four miles off of Interstate 77 at 149 East White Street.  Parking is free, and located just past the shop on the left side of the street.

I walked into the shop and was greeted by the most vibrant woman named Vanessa.  I immediately wanted to be her best friend…and not just because I was hungry and she had cheesecake.  She is the owner of Cheesecake Carousel which she operates with the support of her husband (and the occasional wrangling of some family members). 

The Queen of Cheesecake, Vanessa

The Queen of Cheesecake, Vanessa

A transplant from New York, she moved the south to “live her life.”  She grew tired of the hustle in the big city and opened Cheesecake Carousel about three years ago.

In addition to being the owner, she is the primary employee.  She begins most days at 4:00 AM to start preparing ingredients for the cheesecakes.  Let’s not overlook that she also has the full time job of motherhood and gets her kids off to school each weekday.  I’m not sure where she finds the energy, but I’m glad she does.  The cheesecakes are amazing! 

Vanessa let me pick what I wanted to sample and I immediately went for the chocolate and peanut butter.  It was love at first bite!  Admittedly, I pretty much love anything with a chocolate and peanut butter blend, but this was top notch.  The peanut butter cheesecake was cool and creamy.  It tasted like ice cream.  The creamy texture was atop a crispy chocolate base.  Let’s not overlook that there was more peanut butter glaze on the top.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Upon arrival, I had noticed the chocolate truffles on the shelf.  Vanessa let me in on a secret…there is cheesecake inside of them.  Obviously, I needed to try them.  These tiny truffles were packed full of flavor.  They were incredibly rich, but I couldn’t walk away from the second bite.

A customer comes in to buy two slices of cheesecake, so I take a quick break from sampling. I notice on the menu that all of the treats and slices are under $5.00.  That price point is less than most restaurant dessert menu items. With Cheesecake Carousel within walking distance of Main Street in Rock Hill, I hope the employees of local businesses and nightly diners know the store is here.

Vanessa and I jump back into conversation and she tells me about all the great ways Cheesecake Carousel activates outside of the shop.  She now has a food truck which is currently appearing at a few local events including the upcoming Eat from a Truck festival at AvidExchange Music Factory on September 10th.  She also makes full cakes and regularly accepts large orders.  Depending upon the specifics of the order, she can get it to you in about 24 to 48 hours.

I feel like the tasting is wrapping up, but Vanessa surprises me with another treat.  She also makes cheesecake ice cream. I must be dreaming.  She offers me strawberry or banana pudding (she clearly knows her Southern audience).  I chose strawberry which was perfectly sweetened with a tasty fruit glaze and graham cracker crumbs throughout.  All of the fruit flavorings within Cheesecake Carousel’s products are 100% natural.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

As I get ready to leave, Vanessa prepares a to-go box for me.  She clearly has this Southern hospitality thing down pat. 

Cheesecake Carousel hopes to open a shop in Uptown Charlotte in the future.  The everyday foot traffic of business men and women through the Overstreet Mall and Latta Arcade could really benefit from a post lunch treat or afternoon snack.  For now, Vanessa will continue to serve greatness to those passing through or living in Rock Hill, SC.

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