Vermont cheesemakers share a taste of the land

 

Anne and Ron McBride of New Jersey buy soft cheese from Sugar House Creamery.
Anne and Ron McBride of New Jersey buy soft cheese from Sugar House Creamery.

Photos by Lynn Monty

The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival made its annual appearance on the shores of Lake Champlain this summer to celebrate Vermont cheesemaking and culinary artistry.

Cheeses, locally produced artisan foods, local wines, craft beers, ciders and distilled spirits and scores of people made The 7th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival a success Sunday, July 19.

The Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms housed the celebration. “It’s bigger than ever,” said Rosalyn Graham of Shelburne Farms. “There are two more exhibitor tents than there were last year.”

Cheesemaker Chris Mulligan of Cricket Tree Farm explains the process.
Cheesemaker Chris Mulligan of Cricket Tree Farm explains the process.

About two thousand people attend each year. Best of Fest Cheese winner, chosen by ticketholders, was Cellars at Jasper Hill for “Harbison,” Best of Fest Artisan Food went to Fortuna’s Sausage & Italian Market for “Soupy” and the Best of the Fest Beverage was awarded to Citizen Cider for “The Dirty Mayor.”

Anne and Ron McBride of North Plainfield, New Jersey said they love artisan cheeses and came to Vermont specifically to visit the cheesemakers festival. “There is no better place to be in the summertime than in Vermont,” Ron McBride said. “We come for the cheese festival. It’s a great destination.”

Their favorite so far was Shelburne Farms Smoked Cheddar, Anne McBride said mid-day at the event.

Anne and Ron McBride of New Jersey enjoy conversation in the coach barn at Shelburne Farms. They came to Vermont specifically for the cheesemakers festival.
Anne and Ron McBride of New Jersey enjoy conversation in the coach barn at Shelburne Farms. They came to Vermont specifically for the cheesemakers festival.

More than 150 cheeses from about 45 cheese makers were featured. Five new cheesemakers, as well as eighty artisan food producers and local wine, beer and spirit producers including 10 new exhibitors were also peddling their wares.

Tasting, pairing, and sampling opportunities were interspersed with cheesemaking and cooking demonstrations, and workshops throughout the day. Food producers were set up in farmer’s market style.

“We are fortunate to live in a state where the cheeses, wines, foods, beers and spirits are such high quality and so diverse in style,” said Tom Bivins, Executive Director of the Vermont Cheese Council. “The festival provides an opportunity for people to connect with the farmers and cheese makers behind their favorite cheeses, to experience its connection to the rural landscape, and to discover new cheeses, new artisan foods and new wines, beers and spirits, all lovingly made in Vermont.”

For more information visit www.vtcheesefest.com.

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