Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vermont Cheesemaker's Festival

I just came back with a cooler full of goodies from the Vermont Cheesemaker's Festival which was held at Shelburne Farms this past Sunday. You didn't make it out this year? Don't worry, I ate enough cheese for all of us. Vermont has more artisan cheesemaker's than any other state and those cheesemaker's make some very fine products.

If you think Vermont is just about Cheddar, you've got another think coming. Camemberts, blues, lovely stinky washed rind cheeses, Alpine style, goat, ash-ripened...the list goes on and on. Vermont has wonderful cheese and the festival is a great opportunity to experience a small fraction of what the Green Mountain State has to offer.

In addition to fabulous cheese, the festival also offered demos including cheesemaking 101, seminars like Cheddar and beer pairing and great food outside of the main festival building. Vermont also has a great beer and wine industry and those folks were at the festival to give everyone a little taste.

The Grafton Truckle is a Vermont treat that has been seen, tasted and devoured right here at Pastoral. The Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise won 1st place in the farmstead category at this year's ACS competition. I had an opportunity to go to the farm while in VT and talk to cheesemaker Tom. Wonderful cheese, great cheesemaker and an exceptional cause!

The Ascutney Mountain and the Vermont Ayr have both seen some time in our case here in Chicago as well. Never in our case for long as they are both hot sellers.

This is one of the many gorgeous views in Vermont (5 minutes before a torrential downpour). This one just happens to be at Jasper Hill Farm. Mateo gave a few of us a seriously extensive tour of the cellars and cheesemaking facility. He showed us a few new cheeses and let us taste, taste, taste. Outstanding day!

This year's festival was sold out and I heard there were tickets on Craigslist for $250! Next year's promises to be another bang-up year for the event. Send an email to get on the list for a first crack at next year's tickets! Great article form the Burlington Free Press about the festival.


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