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Woodstock Magazine

Travel The Vermont Cheese Trail for Tours and Tastings

Oct 12, 2015 05:03PM ● Published by Kirsten Gehlbach

From Thistle Hill Farm in North Pomfret to the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company in South Woodstock, you can take in amazing fall foliage and enjoy a tour and taste of the best of Vermont. Although the state is best known for its maple syrup and craft brews, Vermont’s artisan cheese is also widely acclaimed.

If you’re traveling in the Upper Valley, don’t miss the taste of Neighborly Farms in Randolph Center or Jericho Hill Farm in White River Junction. Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland has outstanding cheddar that I buy at the Norwich Farmers’ Market whenever I get an opportunity. And Cabot is also on the trail, if you want to drive to the Northeast Kingdom or stop by the Cabot Store in Quechee.

Home to cheese makers since the 1800s, Vermont is a leader in the American artisanal cheese renaissance. Created in 1996, the Vermont Cheese Council has been dedicated to the production and advancement of Vermont cheese. The council represents cheese makers throughout Vermont who are dedicated to the production and image of premier cheese. The council’s mission includes hosting educational events for the public and food professionals in order to provide information about the art and science of artisanal and farmstead cheeses made in Vermont. Cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk cheeses are available in varieties that range from fresh, soft, and spreadable to those carefully aged for months to bring out their flavors and complex and delicious characters.

Cheese is cheese, right? Think again. Vermont Farmstead offers Ginger-Fig Chocolate Truffle, a chèvre mixed with Ghirardelli chocolate, ginger, and fig, and then coated with a chocolate ganache. Or try Très Bonne (French for very good)—made with goat’s milk and aged 2 to 5 months to produce a smooth cheese with a mild and nutty flavor. This one has claimed American Cheese Society Awards from 2012 to 2014. How about a chèvre with cranberries, juice oranges, and maple syrup to serve during the holidays?

This is just the start of the trail. The nearly 50 members of the Vermont Cheese Trail,  situated all over Vermont, are eager to share their passion with visitors. You can find a map to the Vermont Cheese Trail and recipes on their website. Members of the Vermont Cheese Council invite you to tour their farms, but please call ahead; they may be at farmers’ markets through the end of October or busy making the next batch of outstanding Vermont cheese.

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