The VERMONT CHEESE FESTIVAL at Shelburne Farms on the shores of Lake Champlain is the highlight of the summer. Cheese purveyors from throughout Vermont meet along with other Artisan producers of maple syrup, mustards, spirits, honey and all things Vermontish…natural and pure.

This year was particularly important as we decided what cheeses to sell in our store and meet the cheese makers.  Cholesterol aside, it was a day of taste sensations.

The merchandising was quite incredible, especially in the heat of the afternoon.

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Here are a sampling of the cheeses we loved!

Cobb Hill Cheese– Alpine style named Ascutney Mountain located in the Four Corners of Hartand.  Small batch cheese using whole raw milk from Jersey cows bred and raised at their farm. During the non-pasture season the cows get organic grain as well as hay from their own fields and neighboring farms. The cheese won the Best of Show award for many years.

Shelburne Farms– the best cheddar in Vermont.  They love their brown Jersey cows too, and consistently makes a 2 year cheddar that tops all others.  Their Cloth cheese is great too and this year they produced a fabulous 3 year cheddar that we went home with.

Grafton Village- Many great cheeses from them too, we particularity liked they Smoked Chili Cheese.  All 3 chilis explode in your mouth at different times.  Chili lovers will be able to tell the difference between habanero, jalapeño, and pasillo, smoked with maple wood chips.

Jasper Hill- That is a name that we all love, and their stinky cheeses are our favorite.  Willoughby paired up with Blake Hill Jams are the sweet, tart, and savory all at the same time.

Prufrock– This is a cheese maker from Martha’s Vineyard.  Love this cheese, expensive and exclusive.  When you see it buy it.  We won’t have it right from the start, as the shelf life is very short.  Delicious.  The Vermont distributor, Provisions, showed this cheese- it snuck in even though it is not Vermont.

Maplebrook– A big maker of cheese, their hand made Burrata won awards, and is one of my favorites, served with strawberry and a hint of balsamic…a simple dessert.

Vermont Creamery– another big cheese maker showed their Vanilla Creme Fresh.  Is a staple for chefs in the culinary world.  I’m now a believer.

Vermont Farmstead- makes many great cheeses amongst them a Blueberry Cheddar which is fun.

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We took a class from the CHEESE CHICKS- 5 women that are cheese makers, they talked about their craft, how to put together a charcuterie platter, how to pair wine with cheese.

Besides loving their cows, these women love their sheep and goats. They have special personal names, especially the goats.

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We met the cutest couple who has their own business distilling the best gin we ever tasted…we bought a bottle…single barrel…Stonecutter.  When you see it, buy it…smooth as silk.

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And great people watching too…

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Our health inspector would have a coronary if she saw what was happening that day…glad she didn’t go.  Be Easy…

So we are on the home stretch of the store.  It is all about the inspectors now and their sign off before we can bring any product in and set up.  We are all anxious to get started. Our website is live now, still needs some edits before blast off, so I may spend my time on the store blog for awhile and not here.

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I will be grateful…and thanks again for your time to read what I have to say.