January’s Farm Focus is Lillé Bébé from Vermont Farmstead in South Woodstock, VT
Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company began as a community effort to preserve a picturesque 18-acre dairy farm in South Woodstock, Vt in 2009. Passionate residents raised money to purchase the land, buildings and equipment in hopes that it would remain a dairy farm. With the generous contributions and tireless efforts of an entire community, Vermont Farmstead succeeded in becoming the first community-owned artisan cheese and dairy facility in the state.
Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company gently cares for the land and the lives of their animals to make fresh, quality, and artisan cheese available to all. Through a marriage of authentic cheese-making practices and innovative and playful partnerships within the community, they have created a generation of delicious cheeses.
Lillé Bébé is a decadently sumptuous soft-ripened cheese with a supple paste core enveloped by a rich creamy body and a subtle mushroom nuance with notes of nut and butter. The rind gives a nice salty bite versus the delicate interior.
This month’s Cave to Coop is Dorset from Consider Bardwell in Pawlet, Vermont
Spanning the rolling hills of Vermont’s Champlain Valley and easternmost Washington County, New York, 300-acre Consider Bardwell Farm was the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont, founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself. A century later, Angela Miller and Russell Glover are revitalizing the tradition with goat milk from their herd of Oberhaslis and cow milk from their two neighbor farm partners—the Brooks and the Browes. Rotational grazing on pesticide-free and fertilizer-free pastures produces the sweetest milk and the tastiest cheese. All cheeses are made by hand in small batches from whole, fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free. Only microbial (non-animal) rennet is used in the cheese making. All of the cheeses are aged on the farm in an extensive system of caves.
Dorset is a washed-rind, raw Jersey cow cheese with a rich, buttery texture and seasonally influenced pungency. Earthy and complex with a beautiful basket weave rind, Dorset is a savory, nutty and earthy delight that is perfect for November. It’s great on a cheese plate and useful in the kitchen – try it in the Maple Bread with Dorset recipe below.
Maple Bread with Dorset
serves 8 as a dessert or first course
½ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 thin slices sourdough bread
mild vegetable oil, for oiling plate
4 ounces Dorset, thinly sliced
Cook the maple bread in two batches: Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and, when hot, add ¼ cup of the maple syrup, 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter and a pinch of salt. Add 4 slices of the bread and immediately flip to coat in the buttery maple syrup. Cook, flipping often with a butter knife, until the bread is lacquered with the syrup and takes on a toasted look and the bottom of the pan is coated with just a dry film, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the maple bread to a lightly oiled plate to cool. (Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of bread.)
Smear a slice or two of Dorset onto the bread and serve immediately.