Watch: Building a Cheese Board with Vermont Creamery
The sweetly scalloped marble board above just arrived in our kitchen, and we couldn't wait to fill it with delicious goat cheese from our friends at Vermont Creamery. Founded in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese, Vermont Creamery began with the goal of making French-inspired dairy products at a time when goat cheese wasn't yet popular in America. Today, it's a staple on plates around the country and the creamery has grown, but Bob and Allison remain dedicated to supporting Vermont farmers, combining the local terroir with European cheesemaking traditions. They partner with family goat farms across the state to make award-winning fresh and aged cheeses, cultured butter, and crème fraîche. We caught up with Allison and Bob to learn about life at the Creamery, and got their tips for building a beautiful cheese board.
terrain: Vermont Creamery established Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in 2014. What's life like on the farms and in the dairy during spring?
Bob: Spring is kidding season – some days at the dairy, we’re welcoming upwards of 25 baby goats into the herd! We’ve got kids bouncing around, the milking parlor is abuzz, and we’re readying equipment to tend the fields and forages this summer. With all the action, our days are long but rewarding.
terrain: What are some of your favorite cheeses to serve this time of year?
Bob: It may sound pretty shameless, but goat cheese is a quintessential spring cheese. There's a bit more sunlight and the grass is getting greener every day – you can taste these changes in the milk and, therefore, in the cheese.
terrain: What are your essentials for a great cheese board?
Allison: I always encourage folks to choose their own adventure when it comes to pairings. In that respect, I’ve earned a bit of a reputation for rummaging through the pantry and refrigerator to whip up cheese boards that break all of the rules. For cheese lovers who also love rules, pairing items that come from the same region is a classic, no-fail suggestion (for example, a soft-ripened goat cheese and Loire Valley Wine, like Chenin Blanc or Cabernet Franc).
Pair with: stout beer, sparkling cider, candied ginger, artichokes, watermelon
Pair with: almond thins, maple cream, prosciutto, chocolate almonds
Pair with: hazelnut thins, fig jam, pancetta, pickled cherries