Since I won’t be attending the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this month I’ve decided I’m going to have my own tastings at home so I can still sample some fantastic Vermont cheese. I’m considering it my own homebound version of the festival if you will. Those who are also unable to make the trek are more than welcome to taste along with me as well. There seemed no better place to start than with Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery’s Double-Cream Cremont, which made its debut at the New York Fancy Food Show this week.
As soon as I read about its release on their Facebook page I ran to Pastoral, my local cheese shop, to see if they carried it. I arrived with the kind of excitement and anticipation that normal, non-cheese obsessed people might have for a book or an album that is just being released. Some people might think this makes me a little nuts. I like to think it is an endearing quality. Anyway, my heart fell a little initially when I scanned the case and saw no sign of the Cremont. However, a sweet Pastoral cheesemonger offered to take a look in back for me and found some hanging out on the wholesale shelf. It proves that when it comes to less common foodstuffs it never hurts to ask. Sometimes they’ll find it in the back, other times if you beg enough you might convince them to carry or special order it.
The genesis of the Cremont (also called the Cream of Vermont) is that they wanted to create a great aged goats milk cheese that would be accessible. As VBC Co-Owner Allison Hooper explained to me,
“I thought we’ve got to come up with a cheese that is more approachable than a goat cheese with crazy, brainy looking rind that has an esoteric name and is expensive.”
From my tasting, she succeeded on all counts. A mixed milk cheese made of cows’ milk, goat’s milk, and cows’ cream, it’s smooth and very creamy marrying some of the best qualities of both fresh and aged cheeses. You get a mild, goat-y flavor that Chevre fans will appreciate with a bit of nuttiness from the rind, a slight hint of yeast, and of course pleasant fattiness from the extra cream. It’s one of those cheeses that’s easy to appreciate and hard not to love, because of this it would make a great pick for a party cheeseboard because it’s likely to be a crowdpleaser. It’s also a great choice if you like cheeses like Chevre and Brie and want to try something new. To that end, I think it would fanastic served melted over a slice of apple and ham on brioche or atop a hamburger now that summer grilling season is upon us.
I cannot wait to continue on to other Vermont cheeses and since my family is staying with me for the weekend it seems like a great excuse to try a couple.
What about you? Do you have a favorite Vermont cheese I should try?