Southern Vermont Feature
Vermont Artisanal Cheese
Vermont is the artisanal cheese capital of the country, with more than 40 creameries (and growing fast) that are open to the public—carefully churning out hundreds of different cheeses. Many creameries are "farmstead" operations, meaning that the animals that provide the milk are on-site where their milk is made into cheese. If you eat enough cheese during your time in the state, you may be able to differentiate between the many types of milk (cow, goat, sheep, or even water buffalo), as well as make associations between the geography and climate of where you are and the taste of the cheese you eat.
This is one of the reasons why taking a walk around a dairy is a great idea: you can see the process in action, from grazing to aging to eating. Almost all dairies welcome visitors, though it's universally recommended that you call ahead to plan your visit.
Vermont Cheese Council. This group has developed the Vermont Cheese Trail, a map of 44 creameries with contact information for each. 866/261–8595. www.vtcheese.com.
Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. If you're a real cheese lover, definitely plan your trip to Vermont around the state's world-class food event, the annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival—each July over 40 cheesemakers gather in Shelburne to sell and sample their various cheeses. www.vtcheesefest.com.
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