Vermont Butter and Cheese…and The “Smoking Incident”

March 17, 2009

The Lady has no sense of humor; nor does she understand the scope of the work I do here on Earth for The Brain.

I asked to go out a couple nights ago; returned with the smell of cigarette smoke in my fur and The Lady grounded me. She accused me of doing something called “cheating” and “stepping out”. I was doing my job. Since my recent promotion to Quadrant Commander, I have experienced problems with the feline observers under my supervision. The Brain called me out the other night and had me make an emergency observation stop at a humankind party when one of my guys fell down on the job.

The Lady should understand; after all she knew and loved Mike Tyson, the legendary SoCal Quadrant Commander.

For those of you who didn’t know the Mighty MT, he was the feline who previously observed The Lady and The Man at their Burbank Home. When they traveled weekly to their Desert Escape in Palm Springs, MT headed down the street and spent the weekends with Julie, his second observation site. After MT became ill with Kitty AIDS, Julie came to visit him and that was when The Lady and The Man discovered he had a “second family”. Upon Mike Tyson’s return to the Mother Ship and The Brain, flowers and cards from many humankinds were laid on the front porch of The Lady and The Man to form a shrine in his honor. MT was loved by many but feared by the canine denizens in the neighborhood, who secretly cheered his departure. The Lady still misses him. I aspire to be remembered as fondly as Mike Tyson. But I digress…

Even though The Lady grounded me, she does still love me because she brought home more cheese for me to sample and review.

And never say never to goat cheese…yep, she brought more goat cheese home. We just celebrated the Chinese New Year but I didn’t recall it being the year of the Goat Cheese… I guess I’ll have to pay better attention.

A few days ago Anna Guensch from DPI came by the Kiosk to visit and brought Allison Hooper, President of the American Cheese Society and Owner of the Vermont Butter and Cheese Company. The Lady briefly met Allison last fall at a Cheese Show where Allison spoke. Allison brought cheeses for The Lady to sample. Anna teased The Lady about not liking goat cheese and Allison expressed concern. The Lady sucked it up and assured Allison that she would keep an open mind and even if she didn’t personally like goat cheese, she could sell it. Hey, if The Lady can sell hard goat cheese…she can sell any goat cheese…

But what The Lady brought home is not just “any” goat cheese…

A little background on Allison. In the 70s, while a student in France, Allison sent letters to local organic farmers offering her services for the summer. She wasn’t too concerned that she had no farm experience; she was eager to work and willing to work hard. A family in Brittany offered her room and board in exchange for working with them making artisanal cheese. A calling was found and today Allison, along with her partner, Bob Reese make award-winning cheeses and butter and other exceptional dairy products.

What The Lady tasted and brought home for me to taste were three goat cheeses and cows’ cultured butter.

The first was Fresh Crottin, a young, light, goat cheese that has a mild lemony, floral and nutty flavor. It is creamy and smooth in texture.

Fresh Crottin

Fresh Crottin

 

 

 

I give Vermont Butter and Cheese Fresh Crottin  3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got)

Serving Suggestions: I think this would be divine sliced on a bed of spinach and field greens (according to The Man “field greens” is code for “weeds”…). You might slice it and put it on a piece of Naan and pop it under the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble.

Wine Pairings: Light White wine, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc

Source: Goats’ Milk

Ingredients: Pasteurized goats’ milk, culture, enzymes, salt

Shelf Life: 50 days from “Made on Date”

Fat Content: 21%

 

Bijou was the next cheese we tasted and this one knocked my socks off…well, I don’t actually wear socks, but you get the picture. The Lady loves hazelnuts and found this cheese to have hints of the filbert flavor with citrus, flowers and yeast. The rind is mild and sweet. Like the Crottin, it is smooth and creamy.

Bijou

Bijou

 

 

Martha Stewart loves Bijou and calls it one of her “must-haves”. If it’s good enough for Ms. Stewart well, it’s good enough for this feline foodie. Bet she didn’t get this cheese while she was away in the pokey…perhaps at Club Fed you do get Bijou…but the mind wanders again…

I give Bijou 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions. Bijou is great toasted and put into a salad. Fold a few slices of Sus scrofa with Bijou and warm in the oven until the Bijou melts…it’s quite yummy. You can also put it inside Phyllo dough and combine with cherries, hazelnuts (The Lady liked this idea) and honey. Bake for a few minutes to make the Bijou gooey.

Wine Pairings: As Bijou ripens and ages, the wine pairing changes as well. When young, serve it with a young white wine. As it becomes more supple, a Gamay is better choice. After 45 days, try pairing it with an aged Cognac.

Source: Goats’ milk

Ingredients: Pasteurized goats’ milk, culture, enzymes, salt

Shelf Life: Up to 75 days depending on ripening preference.

Fat Content: 21%

 

The third cheese was Coupole,

Coupole

Coupole

 

 

which for some odd reason makes The Lady think of Fred Couples, one of her favorite golfers. I assume it’s the spelling similarity. I watch golf with her and this cheese, while handsome, can’t hold a candle to the good looks of Freddie. According to The Lady, he is the best looking professional golfer playing today, although she does think that Camillo Villegas has a “cute butt”. For some reason that remark annoys The Man. Back on track.

Coupole’s rind has a strong ripened flavor and The Lady and I liked this cheese the least of the three. This cheese has a mild, dense pate and can stand alone on a cheese cart. Vegetable ash is sprinkled on the top.

I give Coupole 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Very eye-pleasing for a cheese platter with fruit and nuts. Use to garnish fried polenta. The Lady thinks it is great with pear and whole wheat bread.

Wine Pairings: Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc

Ingredients: Pasteurized goats’ milk, culture, enzymes, salt

Shelf Life: 75 days, again depending on ripening preferences

Fat Content: 21%

Vegetarian suitable as rennet is non-animal

 

The last tasting was Allison’s Cultured Butter which The Lady tells me was quite like the butter her Gramma LillyMae made on the farm in South Georgia, back in the day when butter was still butter. Not that crap you buy in the dairy section today.

Vermont Cultured Butter

Vermont Cultured Butter

 

 

This butter is made from cream fraiche, which is cultured cream. This is like no butter I have had since hitting the Left Coast. Back in my European Days…yes, but not here in the Northwest.

I give Vermont Cultured Butter 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Anything you usually put that sissy butter on or in…

Source: Cows’ Milk

Shelf Life: 120 Days

Fat Content: 86% – that explains it, doesn’t it???

Awards: Winner Fancy Food Show 2004 “Outstanding Cheese of Dairy Product”

 

The Lady thanks Allison for taking the time to come by the Kiosk and hopes to offer Vermont Butter and Cheese products to her customer in the near future.

Photos in this article are copyright 2009 Vermont Butter abd Cheese Company.

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9 Responses to “Vermont Butter and Cheese…and The “Smoking Incident””

  1. roger gayton Says:

    Great column Marcella!!!

  2. Mike Says:

    Real Butter – Yum!

    Fun column – I didn’t realize MT covered the neighborhood that well.

  3. mowida Says:

    I do love goat cheese on Greek food!

  4. Robert Harrison Says:

    Very nice piece on Vermont B&C Co.!!!
    Allison is a lovely woman and does a phenomenal job advocating for artisan-made American cheeses and producing her own outstanding products. Bijou is truly world-class, and their cultured butter is a treat any day of the week.


  5. […] Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery Coupole made with goat […]

  6. uke mochi Says:

    Has your Missus had a bijou recently? They are so amazing right now… like a first of the year clochette.


  7. […] for my next assignment in the event The Brain re-deploys me in a future life. I hear that the Mighty Mike Tyson and Honorable Hemingway are frolicking there now and enjoying every day hanging out with the blue […]


  8. […] only to the day The Brain deployed me to Burbank to assume the command recently vacated when the Mighty Mike Tyson was called home to the Mothership. My cheese fridge runneth over. The Lady told me there were […]


  9. […] Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery’s Coupole (2nd) […]


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