Friday, December 26, 2008

Notes from the Cheese Primer Expert

Hi Allison

I took the Coupole and the butter and the Bonne Bouche down to LA (Lower Alabama) with me, and I told my mom and dad all about you, and I got to tell you, that Coupole just blows me away. You are a genius. I've been around a few chevres in my day, cozied up to a lot of them a lot of times. There is no other chevre that can touch yours. All aspects, Charentais, unmistakably, in style. As perfectly rendered as the finest AOC Chabichou." . I am in awe of your prowess. And if it wasn't you that made it, I do hope you will convey my sentiment to whoever it is.
Hope your Christmas is good and fun. Do be in touch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For the Love of Butter!

It is butter demo season and here is what people say when trying a spoon full of our now famous Vermont Cutlured Butter

"This butter is amazing - I've never had anything like it before!"

"tasted more like butter used to taste when I was growing up"

"the butter is really good" - " I heard about this butter"
"That Vermont Butter was just wonderful. What good butter should taste like. Wow that butter is out of this world. The butter taste so fresh and sweet. The butter really makes the bread taste good"
comments from Whole Foods Market Store Demo Details - Edgewater, NJ - November demo

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cheverny and Bijou

What better place to be than Michigan Ave., Chicago on Wednesday Nov. 5. Confetti from nearby Grant Park was still dancing in shoppers’ gazes as they stopped by
to snack on sea salt butter and Bijou. We toasted President-Elect Obama with some crisp Cheverny wine from the Loire Valley, a sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay blend. Pastoral is one of my favorite stores. The new one-year –old down town store is buzzing with professionals pouring out of their offices looking for a bottle and yummy cheese to pair. They have great meats and sandwiches as this is clearly a local hang out. What a great compliment to owners Greg and Ken. They take great care of their cheeses and they are generous with the samples and cheese talk with each customer.
It is a cozy place to be on a rainy fall evening.
Pastoral has 2 locations in Chicago:
2945 North Broadway and 53 East Lake Street
Toll frees: 800-721-4781 ~

Friday, October 31, 2008

Creme Fraiche Frosting

Recipe courtesy of

4 cups (32 ounces) Creme Fraiche
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons candied lemon zest
food coloring

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip all ingredients until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

BOOOOOO - Happy Halloween!

Halloween in the creamery office...Thank you Rachel for the scary cupcakes!!
But who is Rachel?
Rachel is our Queen of Customer service. She answers the phone, teaches about our products, sends out recipes, responds to customer questions, organizes our Christmas party and the list goes on and on........

Rachel recommends our creme fraiche in the frosting and wishes you a frightful, but Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cheese dinners in season

Columbus Day weekend in New England had diners out and about in Nantucket lapping up their last Island weekend of the season. It was a cheese celebration on the terrace, under the awning at The Boarding House. The afternoon was warm and sunny. The end of the season brought locals out to celebrate a prosperous summer with a tasting of wines and goat cheeses. The table was busy as regulars gathered a complimentary plate of fresh and aged Bijou, crottin, coupole and Bonne Bouche and a glass of wine. The Four course dinner featured a little something in each course from Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. The top dishes at our table were Local Halibut with a slab of sea salt butter melted on top. Flank steak atop a feta soufflé, and pear tarte tatin with fromage blanc ice cream for dessert. Thank you to Chef Erin Zircher for cooking up this menu. She packed the restaurant. Owners Angela and Seth Raynor were happy to host their neighbors. We are always happy to be invited to such a lovely place in the post tourist season.

Ferrying back to Boston we helped Louis Risoli at L’Espalier celebrate their new posh location in the Mandarin Hotel with their first “Cheese Tuesday” in their new location. Chef de Cuisine James Hackney developed a special 4 course tasting menu featuring our products. We dined on Pork with Bijou, lamb and Goat feta, a crisp crudité salad with creamy goat cheese, and their famous cheese board complete with Bijou, Coupole and Bonne Bouche. Perfect pairings of figs and honey adorned the cheese. Louis and Matt were in rare form as we all sang along to a Vermont Cheese song to the tune of the Turtles, “happy Together”. Cheese Tuesday, usually the first Tuesday of every month, is always fun party, great value and a chance for diners to hear a cheese story or two. I would highly recommend this night out in Boston.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Congratulation to our farmer Christine Kaiser

Kristine Kaiser recently received the "Dairy of Distinction" award from the Vermont Department of Agriculture. She started 4 years ago to produce milk for us and now have 125 goats producing great high quality milk. Congratulation Kristine from everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

State Officials Congratulate Vermont Butter & Cheese On Awards

International Honors Demonstrate Importance of Cheese Production To Vermont’s Farms, Economy

WEBSTERVILLE – Officials from the State of Vermont congratulated a local artisanal cheese manufacturer for their recent international accolades and stressed the importance of such operations to Vermont’s economy and farms.

Agriculture and economic development officials praised Vermont Butter & Cheese for the five awards the Websterville company recently received at the World Cheese Awards held in Dublin, Ireland.

“We are very pleased to honor Vermont Butter & Cheese,” said Deputy Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts at a ceremony at the company’s factory on Thursday. “These international awards demonstrate how Vermont’s farmers and producers of quality, value-added agricultural and food products can compete in the worldwide market.”

He said Vermont Butter & Cheese’s commitment to the state is demonstrated by their support of more than 20 local, family-owned farms.

“Businesses like Vermont Butter and Cheese are an important part of our economy, and that’s why the state supports them,” said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn. “Not only do they help preserve our farms and working landscape, which are so important to tourism, but value added products provide good-paying jobs for Vermonters.”

Company co-founders Allison Hooper and Bob Reese thanked the state for the assistance provided, which included $174,500 from Dorn’s agency as well as Vermont Economic Development Authority loans.

“We’re very pleased the state has recognized the importance of these awards, and are very proud of our staff,” said Reese, the company’s president. “This is a reflection of their dedication to producing a world-class product.”

“Companies like this define our state’s commitment to high quality, value-added agricultural and food products that consumers from around the world associate with Vermont,” Dorn said. “We are proud that Vermont Butter & Cheese has been a partner in our economic development efforts from its early days.”

Founded in Brookfield in 1984, Vermont Butter & Cheese Company is now a world renowned producer of artisanal cheese and butter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Feast of the Farms Evening

On September 26th we were so thrilled to join Chef Doug Mack for the annual Farms Harvest Celebration at the Balwin Creek Inn in Bristol, Vermont. This event is the grand finale of the Farmhouse Dinner Series which, runs all year to give guests the opportunity to share a great dinner while discussing foody topics, like local food, new trends, farming and so much more….

It is a gala affair in the Red Barn, under a glorious white peaked tent with live entertainment throughout the evening. All of their farm partners joined them to celebrate Harvest, serving food, chatting with guests and enjoying an “end of season” party.

We had the great pleasure to share our table with a wonderful local wine maker:
Shelburne Vineyard! Their Vidal Blanc Ice Wine is to die for and they make a really nice Riesling (which goes so well with our aged goat cheeses). I have to say that it's really remarkable to make a great quality wine considering how hard to must be to grow grapes in our gorgeous, but frigid Vermont state. But let’s talk about the food first.

Doug made a wonderful walnut and cranberry bread to serve topped with a slice of our aged Coupole. Bonne Bouche was also invited and served on medallions of fresh pears; simple but so elegant.
Every guest came up at least twice for it!!! as a little “amuse bouche”, then for the cheese course and a last bite for dessert! The sweetness in the bread with the dried fruits balanced really well with the acidity of the lactic cheese. Having the crunch of walnuts enhanced the nuttiness of the Coupole, which comes from the special yeast we are using in the milk. Parfait!

Local venison ragu, Vermont Mysti Knoll Farm chicken was serving a turkey meat loaf – Vermont apple pie with cinnamon ice cream - local bread – wine and cheese, hosted in a wonderful traditional Vermont red barn setting, what more can you ask for? Bravo Chef Doug and thanks to you, Linda and all your staff for this wonderful evening and the support of local farmers which you have done for the past 25 years. (and the extra loaf of cranberry walnut bread that we took home!).

Upcoming event at the Balwin Creek
Fri Oct 10; 6:15 Dinner, 7:30 TalkTable Talk: "The Vermont Grapevine"
Lincoln Peak Vineyard owner and winemaker Chris Granstrom has been growing grapes, strawberries and apples for over 25 years in New Haven. He discusses Vermont's emerging grape and wine industry, the new grape varieties that make vineyards possible in our region and the tasty wines that can be made from them

Cranberry-Walnut Quick Bread

2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Vermont Cultured Butter unsalted, melted
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 cups chopped cranberries , fresh or frozen, thawed
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 400°F for muffins, mini loaves and mini Bundts or 375°F for a large loaf. Coat pan(s) with cooking spray.
2. Prepare Quick-Bread Dry Mix using your favorite recipe.
3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, oil and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add orange zest, cranberries and walnuts. Stir just to combine; do not overmix. Transfer batter to the prepared pan(s). Top with additional walnuts, if desired.
5. Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes for muffins or mini Bundts, 35 minutes for mini loaves, 1 hour 10 minutes for a large loaf. Let cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let muffins and mini Bundts cool for 5 minutes more, mini loaves for 30 minutes, large loaves for 40 minutes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The BEST Award EVER!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A trip to Nantucket

What’s better than cheese and wine? Tasting cheese and wine on Nantucket Island. For eleven year foodies and chefs from the region ferry to The Natucket Wine Festival for four days of wine and food seminars and tasting.

This year we were really excited to be invited to present a cheese and wine pairing seminar. “Why not talking about the 2 cheese countries that I love so much: France and Vermont!” Hence the title, “ A world of Cheese from the Tour de France to the Vermont Cheese Trail.”
Talking about those cheeses is the easy part for me. Getting pictures from the cheesemakers of their cheese production, the landscape, the cows, the creamery was a piece of cake. But then what about the wine!!!!!

Well, I could say that we “almost have” our own Sommelier in house! Ed Peterman, husband of Karen, our Boston sales rep, is a Sommelier for Domaine Select Wine Estate. They import and distribute exclusive wines from all over the world.

I enrolled Ed in preparation for the seminar. So then we started to talk real business – Cheeses were picked – 1 cheese per category of “fromages”
- Bijou and Bonne Bouche
- Reblochon and La Fleurie Camembert (from Willow Farm in North of VT)
- Comté and Grafton 4 years old Cheddar
- Roquefort and Green Mountain Blue Cheese Gore-Dawn-Zola

Then Ed’s magic came to action!
He started to pair the blue cheese with a Muscat from a very small winery in France called Chateau de Jau, a nice Sancerre with the aged goat cheeses, a very deep and powerful red wine from Sicily COS Cerasuolo to pair with our 2 kings of cheese “the comte and Cheddar”.

After the dull roar of mmmms and ahhhhs I knew that this discriminating audience got their money’s worth. We try to stay away from too many rules when he pair wines with food. There is always a stand out winner. That day it was the Chateau de Jau Muscat and the Roquefort.

A perfect pairing, a perfect weekend event. Life is good for this French cheesemaker “en Amerique”.

Check-out the video:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Real Vermonters Do Milk Goats!

At the festive annual banquet that marks the conclusion of the Vermont Farm Show, the Vermont Dairy Industry Association awarded its prestigious John C. Finley Memorial Award to Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company. Hooper, thrilled with the surprise said, “I share this award with my business partner Bob Reese, and our terrific staff who make and sell exceptional cheese everyday. The unsung heroes, of course, are our 17 goat farmers who produce great milk for us, the St Albans Dairy farmers and HP Hood farmers who produce the outstanding cream and milk from which we make our cheese.”
Recipients of the award are recognized for their outstanding contribution to Vermont Agriculture as achieved through outstanding character and mental vigor exemplified by John C. Finley, educator, deputy commissioner of agriculture and ardent promoter of Vermont Agriculture. For twenty three years, Hooper has developed and nurtured the dairy goat industry in Vermont on which she and Reese’s business depend. She is also recognized for starting the Vermont Cheese Council and for her leadership in branding Vermont as a national leader in the artisan cheese industry. “For us, this is a huge honor. In essence, by bestowing this award on our work, the traditional dairy industry celebrates the growth, diversity, and hoped-for sustainability we bring to Vermont’s working rural landscape.”

Hooper cites initiatives that her company has taken to help farmers be successful with goats. Folks from University Extension, the Agency of Agriculture and our own intern from France developed business planning models for various sized farms. Our staff “goat nanny” travels from farm to farm advising producers on dairy management, nutrition, and business planning. “
The company hopes to double our purchase of goats’ milk in Vermont. “Today we buy milk from 17 farms in Vermont. We would like to help our current farmers grow as well as establishing relationships with new farmers.” Hooper said.

In their 23rd year of business, Vermont Butter & Cheese Company is the leading American creamery specializing in the crafting of innovative, all-natural fresh and aged cheese as well as European-style butter products.

Photo by:
Allison Hooper (left) Vermont Butter & Cheese Co.
Diane Bothfeld (right)

Thank you

Our family would like you to know how much we appreciate your delicious cheese, Bonne Bouche.
It is truly extraordinary. Tasty and beautiful.We buy several a week.
This is the first time we have been so inclined to contact a company!
Thank you,
Cheri,Ted and Camille Schmidt

Friday, January 11, 2008

Green Cheese from the Green Mountain!

As part of our commitment to Vermont agriculture and the landscape we have always made efforts toward creating greener products and an eco-friendly workplace. We believe that each small step contributes to a better environment and the preservation of the Earth.

At the farm we believe in sustainable practices:
Our farmers adhere to best practices for manure management and land application
Our farmers strive for optimum animal health and welfare
Our farmers do not use growth hormones to increase milk production
Our farms feed a mix of pasture, browse and harvested forage to maximize the use of their land base.
Our average farm has 150-200 goats. Our herds are as small as 25 goats and as large as 700.
Our cows’ milk and cream come from segregated herds who pledge not to use rBST.

Recycle electronics
Use recycled paper as much as we can
Maintain receptacle for plastics – paper – cardboard
Recycle ink jet cartridges
All our whey is collected and picked up twice a day by a local farmer to be used as animal for his animals

We reuse all the plastic bags that our packaging cups are sent in as garbage bags.
After making the cheese we CIP (cleaning in place) our pipes, vat and pasteurizer with a reusable caustic solution that is turned over once a week – this helps to reduce our water and chemical usage.

Working to eliminate Styrofoam, use recycled wood chips and recycled paper in shipping
Audit our practices past and present in an effort to build our new creamery as “green” as possible using “green power”
Paperless administration to reduce waste using emails – conference calls
Car conscientious: one of our owners drives a hybrid car; salespeople take public transportation when available.
Monitor power to reduce NRJ – almost all our machines are turned OFF during the night and each day we perform a progressive start-up (over 3 hours) to decrease the electricity pick demand.

A green creamery: We are an Efficiency Vermont Energy Saving Partner
During the construction design of our new aged cheese creamery we worked closely with Efficiency Vermont to lower our energy use and contribute to reducing Vermont greenhouse gases.
Examples: energy star transformers – pumps – lighting – occupancy sensors - air cooled chillers…
Efficiency Vermont to lower our energy use and contribute to reducing Vermont greenhouse gases.
Examples: energy star transformers – pumps – lighting – occupancy sensors - air cooled chillers…