I came back from CheeseMania NYC — aka the Cheesemonger Invitational + summer Fancy Food Show — and suddenly it was already July. Which means we’re just days away from the sixth annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, held July 20 at Shelburne Farms on the shore of Lake Champlain.

The historic coach barn will welcome 40 cheesemakers from Vermont and neighboring states, as well as locally-crafted beer and spirits to refresh the taste buds of the expected sell-out crowd.

vermont cheesemakers festival 2013 | cheeseandchampagne.com

vermont cheesemakers | cheeseandchampagne.com

(pictured, top: Michael Lee, Twig Farm; Domenico Marchitelli, Maplebrook Farm, making burrata; Allison Hooper, Vermont Creamery, Vermont Shepherd and Consider Bardwell panel on seasonality of cheese.
bottom: Mark Fischer, Woodcock Farm; Chris Gray, Consider Bardwell; Sebastian von Trapp, Von Trapp Farmstead.)

Cooking demonstrations and workshops such as “A Vertical Tasting” of cow, sheep and goat cheeses are included in the $50 ticket price. Visit the website for more details and to purchase your tickets today.

Fodor’s recently named the Festival one of the top 10 best summer food festivals in the US, and for good reason. It’s the one event of the year where you can taste cheese with some of the country’s finest cheesemakers — do the names Jasper Hill, Vermont Creamery, Consider Bardwell or Grafton Village ring a bell? — and do it all on perhaps the most scenic farm in the country.

See you there?


I was going to post about Ameribella last month, but how could we not feature such a patriotically named cheese on Independence Day week? Especially a cheese as powerful and pungent as this – if the American troops couldn’t banish the British on their own, surely this cheese could have done the job.

Despite hailing from a Midwestern state (Indiana), Ameribella just started appearing in Twin Cities cheese counters this spring, where it stands its ground with the Red Hawks and Graysons of the case. In fact, like Grayson, Ameribella is fashioned after the great Italian stinker Taleggio, with an orange-tinged washed rind that brings the barnyard to your cheese plate. Matthew Brichford and Leslie Jacobs are long-time farmers but relatively new cheesemakers, but they impressively dove into the washed-rind world with a mission – and impressive results.

This semi-soft slipper of a cheese doesn’t get too runny, but its pliable paste can make your fingers get pretty sticky nonetheless. Though a Taleggio is often described as having more bark (or odor) than bite, I found Ameribella to be more more assertive on the palate, with strong mustardy, yeasty flavors coming through with each bite. I relished the strong flavors but refrained from bringing my slice to work, lest my co-workers think something died in my office. Desk cheese Ameribella may not be, but I have no qualms about enjoying it at home or with fellow cheese fiends as company. Pair with a light white or medium-bodied red, like you would a Grayson, and savor the Ameribella aroma this holiday.

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