Old Goats of Consider Bardwell, Vermont

by dccheese on November 20, 2013

in American-NewEngland,American-Northeast,Cheese!,Cheesemakers & People,Goat,Raw

As our thoughts turn to the holidays and winter cheeses, we thought it important to note that goat cheese is not just a summer cheese. Sure, fresh chèvre is generally seasonal, but those nutty aged “old goat” tommes are ripening even as goats are bedding down for the winter. (No, they don’t hibernate — but dairy goats typically dry up in fall or early winter before kidding season brings fresh milk — and adorable goat babies — in the spring.) Goat cheeses aren’t aged too long, though, in contrast to cows-milk cheeses, so snap your favorites up while you can. And speaking of favorites, I was delighted to catch up with Chris Gray, cheesemaker at Consider Bardwell, over the summer at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival.

Chris Gray, cheesemaker at Consider Bardwell | cheeseandchampagne.com

Consider Bardwell is a farmstead goat dairy that also makes cows milk cheeses, utilizing milk from two neighboring farms. If the names Dorset, Pawlet or Rupert ring a bell, those are the cows milk cheeses. {Pawlet was just named a Good Food Awards finalist, too!} Manchester is perhaps their best-known goat cheese, and Jill wrote about it back in ’09. It’s worth revisiting, though, because I think it’s gotten even better since then.

Consider Bardwell Manchester cheese | cheeseandchampagne.com

Let’s back up a minute. Consider Bardwell Farm in southwestern Vermont was the first cheesemaking co-op in the state, founded by Consider Stebbins Bardwell in 1864. While Bardwell originally made cheddar, Angela Miller and Rust Glover bought the farm in 2001 and rehabilitated it as an all-natural, small-batch farmstead dairy with a herd of Oberhaslis goats, a Swiss Alpine dairy breed. (No pesticides, no fertizlizers on the pasture.)

Manchester is an aged, raw goats-milk tomme that develops a natural rind while aging in the farm’s caves that lends an earthiness to the bright, fruity paste, rich in vivacious flavors from that natural pasture. That rustic rind would look lovely on your holiday cheeseboard, don’t you think?

Consider Bardwell Danby cheese | cheeseandchampagne.com

A new offering this year is Danby, inspired by Italian piave and asiago. Aged at least six months, it is a firm, smooth cheese ideal for grating over pasta but offers a rich flavor on its own as well. The striking white paste inspired the naming of the cheese after the town of Danby, Vt., and its famed marble.

What’s your favorite Old Goat cheese?

Manchester’s season is typically June through February, while Danby is available October through May. Consider Bardwell cheeses are harder to find outside of the Northeast or New York, but Formaggio Kitchen offers several of them by mail-order. You can also order directly from the farm.

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