Vermont's artisan cheeses include the expected cheeses made from cow milk, but also lovely cheeses made from goat milk, sheep milk, and even buffalo milk. The picturesque cheese state is dedicated to producing superlative cheeses and luring locals and tourists to sample the many artisan and farmstead products.
According to the organizers of the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, Vermont routinely uses science in ongoing efforts to improve the state's cheeses. Currently, the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont is the nation's only comprehensive center devoted to artisan cheese.
Much like taking a winery tour, Vermont's locals and visitors can eat their way through a delectable array of cheeses along the Vermont Cheese Trail. With 21 farms open to the public, the Vermont Cheese Trail has established Vermont as the "Napa Valley of Cheese" for food lovers. There are over 150 varieties of award-winning artisan and farmstead cheeses just waiting to be nibbled.
Another cheese stop includes Jasper Hill Farm, a Vermont artisan cheese farm, which has constructed one of the most advanced, state-of-the-art, cheese caves in the nation.
Even if you never make it to Vermont, you can still sample the state's delectable cheeses. Ninety-five percent of Vermont's cheese is distributed throughout the US. If Vermont cheese isn't available in your local grocery store, ask the dairy manager to order it in.
Chèvre with herbs or pepper
A classic fresh soft chèvre from Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, made from pasteurized goat's milk, this creamy cheese is ideal as an appetizer or an accompaniment to salads.
Wine recommendations: Champagne or sparkling wine, Chenin Blanc, Viognier
Two Year Cheddar
Made from Brown Swiss cow's milk at Shelburne Farms, this aged semi-firm cheddar goes well with many holiday foods or simply by itself.
Wine recommendations: Gewürztraminer, medium-bodied Syrah, medium-bodied Zinfandel
Traditional Cheddar Wheel
Cabot Creamery's traditional country-store cheddar, made from pasteurized cow's milk, delivers rich, full-bodied, moist flavors to every festive food occasion.
Wine recommendations: Petite Sirah, medium-bodied Sangiovese, Zinfandel
Les Pyramids or La Roche
Made from pasteurized goat's milk at Lazy Lady Farm, these soft-ripened cheeses make great beginnings for dinner or an ideal part of a dessert course.
Beer recommendations: Amber Lager, Brown Ale, Double Ale
One of the pioneer, aged, semi-firm, sheep milk cheeses in the United States, Vermont Shepherd's cheese deserves a prominent place in any holiday feast.
Beer recommendations: Doppelbock, Double or Triple Ale, Oatmeal Stout
One of Vermont's pioneering blue cheeses, made from cow's milk, Green Mountain Blue Cheese's Boucher Blue combines classic flavors and moist textures that appeal to every palate.
Beer recommendations: Triple Ale, Imperial Stout, Barley Wine
Cheese pairings are courtesy of Allison Hooper, president of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, Adeline Druart, manager of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, and Jody Farnham, program coordinator for the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese. In conjunction with the Vermont Cheese Council, the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company and Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese have organized the first annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, which is being held in August 2009. (Details on the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival)
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