Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival

Last weekend, I got on a bus with thirty-some other people and traveled from Murray's Cheese in NYC, all the way to Shelburne, Vermont, for the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival.  I had such an amazing weekend getting to know the fun and funny people from Murray's Cheese, as well as eating cheese (duh), and experiencing gorgeous Vermont for the first time.  It was the perfect weekend escape from the sweltering NYC life (it was 80 glorious degrees in Vermont on Sunday).

Last year, I deeply regretted not going on the Murray's Cheese Whey-cation, so this year I was a complete psycho about signing up.  I have been taking classes for quite a while at Murray's, and I thought this could be a culmination of sorts, to see some of the actual cheesemakers whose cheese I have been tasting in my

So we all met at Murray's Cheese at 7:00 in the morning on Saturday, and were treated to ice coffee and a variety of magazines to read on the bus.  Then we loaded up on the bus - which was called the Urban Sherpa - no joke, and driven by a badass who loved elevator jazz and Steely Dan.
On our ride up to Vermont, after our cheesy lunch, we stopped by Spring Brook Farms, where Jeremy Stephenson took us around the place, and explained how they make their Tarentaise and Reading Raciette cheeses.
After the farm, we checked into La Quinta, took a dip in the pool, and then we were off to dinner at Bluebird Tavern.  I didn't take any pictures, except for the whole-roasted pig, and when I looked at it this morning, it made me sad, so I am not posting it.  It was quite the sight though!  All the dishes incorporated cheese from the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.  In fact, Allison Cooper, who founded Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, stopped by and spoke about her beginnings and the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival.

The next day we made our way to the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival.  It was hosted at Shelburne Farms, this totally amazing piece of land on the shores of Lake Chaplain.  It was built by William and Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb in 1866.  Everyone spent the day trying cheese, sampling beer, wine, and even ice cider.  I purchased a few cheeses from Consider Bardwell Farm, and Cobb Hill Cheese, and some ice cider form Eden Ice Cider Company, and beer from Hill Farmstead Brewery.  Besides tasting all the delicacies, we laid in the grass, and some even went for a dip in the lake.
After the cheese festival, we loaded back on the bus, and rode off our cheese coma, back to hot, smelly New York.  I got on the subway and was greeted with a drunk couple making out and a drunk man with a scorpion tattoo making comments about them.  Welcome to New York.  Vermont suddenly seemed like a dream, far, far away.

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