by Margo Callaghan
The fourth annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival held last Sunday at Shelburne Farms brought together over 1,750 cheese experts, alongside mere fans, from throughout the Northeast. Hosted by the Vermont Cheese Council, with sponsorships from a vast assortment of businesses (from founding and major sponsors Vermont Butter and Cheese and Cabot, to local names including Shelburne Vineyard and Shelburne Farms), the festival was an opportunity for all to sample and purchase over 200 types of cheese from 35 different cheesemakers.
“Cheesemaking in Vermont has grown from a cottage industry with a few well-known brands to a vital piece of our agricultural fabric,” said Rachel Schaal of the Vermont Cheese Council. “In fact, Vermont has the highest number of cheesemakers per capita.”
That, along with the fact that Vermont cheeses continually bring home the gold from national and international competitions, has earned us the reputation as the “Napa Valley of cheese.”
Under ideal weather conditions Sunday afternoon, cheeses were displayed along with over two dozen artisan foods. On hand to offer samples were familiar faces from the Shelburne Farmers Market: Vermont Pickles and O Bread Bakery along with It’s Arthur’s Fault salsas and dips. Vermont Smoke and Cure came from Hinesburg with their product line of meats.
“This is always one of my favorite events for showing off what Vermont’s wine and cheese producers have accomplished,” said local wine producer Gail Albert, “and we were thrilled with the visitor response to our Shelburne Vineyard offerings.”
In no particular order, here are four outstanding products I was introduced to at this weekend’s cheese festival. Enjoy!
Plymouth Artisan Cheeses: Onion & Garlic
Daily Chocolate: Lemon Lavender Bark
Marsh Hollow: Carrot Jam
Northeast Flavor Magazine