This weekend we attended the 1st Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival (http://www.vtcheesefest.com/) held at the uncannily beautiful Shelburne Farms Coach Barn on the shores of Lake Champlain. This improbable daycation was a result of an invitation from my sister Allison Hooper, who is cofounder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in Barre. The venue was nothing short of spectacular, the landscaping was one of Frederick Law Olmsted's commissions in 1902. Olmsted is best known for Manhattan's Central Park, but amazingly, he also did landscapes in Connecticut, including Bristol's Rockwell Park. I've included a photo of the The Inn, which is situated on a hillside overlooking the Lake.
Allison was signing her new book In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen, soon to be available in November. She is a pioneer in America for Artisanal cheesemaking. Steve Jenkins, Master Cheesemonger at Fairway Market (www.starchefs.com/SteveJenkins/html/biography.shtml), posits that superb American artisanal cheesemakers now rival and surpass their European counterparts. VBC won the "Oscar" of the food world at the 2008 Fancy Food Show by winning the Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation ("SOFI") for Outstanding Product Line picked from 5,000 entries.
VBC has offerings in both goat milk cheese (chevre, feta, crottin, bonne bouche, bijou,and coupole) as well as cow milk butter, cream, and cheese (cultured butter, creme fraiche, fromage blanc, quark, and mascarpone). Visit VBC at http://butterandcheese.net/.