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Woodstock Magazine

Vermont: A Cheese-Lover's Paradise

Aug 03, 2017 12:14PM ● Published by Victoria Pipas

We all know Vermont as a state densely populated by cows. In fact, the ratio of cows to humans in Vermont is nearly 1:2. As you can imagine, this makes for a lot of cheese opportunities among the human population. Below, we explore and qualify some of the tastiest Vermont cheeses, many of which are available at your local co-op. If you fancy a real adventure, travel to the farms themselves to seek out the source of these dairy delights.


1. Jasper Hill Creamery: 

This is our gourmet cheese pick on the list. Although tucked far away into the Green Mountains of Greensboro, Vermont, Jasper Hill Creamery is world-renowned. Their Harbison cheese, which earned a “Super Gold” status at the 2015 World Cheese Awards, is a once-in-lifetime experience, unless, of course, you decide that it’s so good that it’s a more frequent indulgence. This is a soft cheese, ripened in a piece of spruce bark for flavor and form. It is described on the company website as having a “rustic, bloomy rind,” with “woodsy and sweet” sensory notes. The body of the cheese is so soft that it nearly requires a spoon; this is a step up from a baked brie. Try this cheese scooped onto a piece of very crunchy French bread with a slice of pear and some cracked pepper on top.


2.  Maplebrook Farm: 

If you’re searching for a fresh mozzarella for your summer salads, look no further than Maplebrook Farm in Bennington. Their old-world mozzarella is hand-stretched in small batches using house-made curds. Try their mozzarella in a large ball or in small, bite size pieces, all of which come freshly packaged in a water-filled container to retain moisture. To serve, slice the mozzarella and lay out on a large platter. Spoon dollops of alternating sun dried tomato tapenade and dark olive tapenade over the cheese. Sprinkle with sea and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.


3. Orb Weaver Farm: 

This lesser-known dairy farm is located in New Haven in the Champlain Valley. Jersey cows have dotted this farmland for over 200 years, and this particular farm has been slowly developing into the current business for over thirty years. Orb Weaver offers both a waxed and a cave-aged variety. Their firm, cheddar-like cheese is surprisingly rich, with a definite tang to it. It’s delicious eaten alone, or paired with a summer IPA. Enjoy it on your front porch as you watch the sun set over a summer evening.


4. Blue Ledge Farm: 

Admittedly, these cheeses are not from cows at all, but rather offer a delicious variety of cheeses from goat’s milk. Blue Ledge Farm is an award-winning goat farm in Leicester, Vermont. Since 2000, this family-run farm has been producing some of most consistently delicious chevres around. The most classic of their products is perhaps their chevre: you’ll recognize the small, perfect cylinders of dense cheese, wrapped in plastic and affixed with an adorable blue and white sticker. Chevre comes in four varieties: plain, herb crusted, pepper crusted, and maple infused. This is one of the simplest and most crowd-pleasing cheeses on our list. It’s a mild chevre, perfect for goat’s cheese novices. Sprinkle a chunk it’s a strawberry, arugula, balsamic salad, or bake slices on crunchy slices of crostini and top with a sprig of rosemary.


5. Cabot Creamery: 

No list of Vermont cheeses would be complete without an addition from Cabot. Cabot cheese has practically become a stable in New England households. Our favorite Cabot selection is the Classic Vermont Private Stock Cheddar. This sharp variety is a general crowd-pleaser; kids love it on crackers, and adults can enjoy it with their favorite local IPA. It crumbles as well as it slices, making it a perfect addition to hot and cold dishes alike. This particular variety is wrapped in black wax and aged 16 months. Bring a block on your next camping trip and add a touch of luxury to your campsite snacking. Serve sliced with apples and grapes, or atop dark brown bread with a squeeze of whole-grain mustard. The true New Englanders might even bake this cheese atop their apple pie and serve cold for breakfast.

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