Back in October 2011, I was a guest for three days at Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery in Websterville, Vermont. I was not sure what to expect when I got there, being that it was my first solo trip to a creamery. But I had a blast–not only did I get a lesson in cheese making (from cheese maker extraordinaire, Joey), I felt like a mouse in her favorite cheese shop—sans the lurking cat!
Launched in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese, VBCC crafts artisanal dairy products using the European approach; via essential ties with local farms. While they have merited worldwide recognition, the company is most proud of its contribution to the health of local agriculture. They support a network of more than 20 family farms (twice a week VBCC picks up the goats’ milk at the farms), providing milk that meets the maximum standards of purity. They also are in alliance with St Albans Cooperative, a co-op of 500 families across Vermont where the milk is first separated, picked up, and sent to the creamery daily. VBCC is truly a pioneer in American artisan cheese making. Between all of the cheese and butter that I inhaled over those three days with gusto, I chose to blog on my favorite three for the next few weeks: Cremont, Bijou, and Coupole.
Some of our long time customers may recognize Cremont as something we originally brought in last summer. It is a double cream, aged cheese that combines local fresh cows’ milk, goats’ milk, and a hint of Vermont cream—how ooey gooey good does that sound? …Luscious! Both milks and cream are blended together and pasteurized then a special blend of yeast and mold are added to help create its unique flavor and to coagulate the milk overnight.
The next day the fresh curd is shaped by hand into specific Cremont-sized cylinders. The fresh cheese is placed in the drying room to let the rind develop and faintly dry the exterior of the cheese. After one day the cheeses are transported to the aging room where the geotricum yeast will gradually grow on the surface of the cheese, creating its distinctive cream colored, wrinkled rind.
I was very fortunate to sample a freshly packed, Cremont; when Joey sliced right into it I got a perfect view of the center, which was ivory colored with a halo of runny, silky cream enveloping it. The texture was smooth and divine. Mild and lactic with a slight tang from the goat’s milk and a wonderful nutty finish, I detected hints of yeast, bread, and hazelnut. Try Cremont on a toasted baguette with orange and cranberry chutney and a glass of Villa Rosa Gavi di Gavi–my mouth waters just blogging about it!