Simply the Best Goat Cheeses

Standing in front of the cheese counter at Price Chopper a few weeks ago, I noticed a square balsam wood container with a French-named cheese: Bonne Bouche, “a good mouthful.” Even more intriguing was the green sticker from The American Cheese Society which proclaimed it the “Best Goat Cheese in America 2010”! Seeing that the cheese inside was topped with a coating of ash made

me a bit skeptical, since we’re not huge fans of Morbier, a French cheese with a layer of ash running through the middle. (Little did I know at the time that the ash actually has a function, which is to mellow the acidity of the cheese.) But I bought Bonne Bouche anyway figuring we might as well give it a try. Very bright decision on my part! It was, in fact, an answer to our prayers: an aged American goat cheese to rival the chèvre produced in France. No wonder it has won several awards!

A week or so later I was in the neighborhood of Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany and decided to drop in. There, a small basket of marked-down cheeses caught my eye, especially the one with the appealing hyphenated adjective
“double-cream” on top! Cremont proved to be well worth the five dollars I spent that day. Tasting the velvety blend of cow’s and goat’s milk was like being in heaven! My husband made the connection that both cheeses were produced by Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery in Websterville, just outside Barre. Since I had planned on visiting friends in Northfield on our trip to Vermont last week, I went by the creamery to see what other products they have to offer.

Although there’s not much for visitors to see or do at the out-of-the-way location, I was able to purchase two other delicious cheeses: Coupole and a two-pack of crottin-like Bijou. I also learned about the history of the company, which has been in existence since 1984. The creamery came about after the marketing director of the Vermont Department
of Agriculture, Bob Reese, needed to supply goat cheese for a banquet. Having trouble locating the cheese, he contacted Allison Hooper, a state dairy lab technician who had studied at an organic farm in Bretagne. The cheese she made for that night proved to be the hit of the dinner. A partnership to produce artisanal cheese and butter quickly developed. At present, the creamery supports over twenty family dairy farms. Their goat milk products include milder tasting rolls of plain, herb, and pepper cheeses which are more widely available, as well as aged cheeses in the European style, my favorites. I’m just sorry we didn’t discover them earlier. Now if we can get local supermarkets to carry the aged cheeses on a regular basis…

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Alex said...

You could not have made me hungrier! I don't suppose any of our local places would have those cheeses ...

Mme Boisvert said...

There's a great link for "Find Our Products" on the Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery site: Of course the problem is that many stores only carry the fresh cheeses, not the aged ones. Still, it looks promising for you at Whole Foods! Good luck!

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