Founded in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese, Vermont Butter & Cheese is located near Websterville, Vermont.
Having spent time with a small-scale cheesemaker in Brittany during the 1970's, Allison was working as a state dairy lab technician in Vermont when she responded to a request from Bob Reese to produce some fresh chèvre for a state dinner. At the time, Bob was employed as Marketing Director for the Vermont Dept. of Agriculture.
The chèvre was a hit and after some experimentation, Bob & Allison decided to go into production on a more formal basis, founding Vermont Butter & Cheese.
Milk for cheese production comes from 21 family farms in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Quebec. Each farm has an average herd size of approximately 150 goats.
Vermont Butter & Cheese makes a variety of fresh and young style cheeses and cultured dairy products, many of which are based on French recipes. They also make an outstanding cultured butter. Cheeses are made from either goat's or cow's milk.
Bonne Bouche (which means literally 'good mouthful' in French), is a delicate, ash covered disc that made its first appearance in 2001.
Cheeses are made using pasteurized milk that is cultured and coagulated in milk buckets using a slow lactic set. This allows for a gentle development of the curd before it is carefully ladled into molds and allowed to drain naturally overnight with no pressing.
The following day, the young cheeses are unmolded, salted, and covered in a light coating of ash before being transferred to the drying room, where they will spend a couple of days to encourage the development of the molds that form the rind.
Cheeses are then moved to to the aging room where they are matured for approximately ten days before release.
Due to its size, style and shape, Bonne Bouche matures rapidly. It is a very delicate cheese that ideally needs to be consumed within the relatively short window when its at its best.
At maturity, the rind is wrinkled and delicate grey in color with patches of white mold. It should not appear overly wet or sticky.
The interior paste of the cheese should be soft and yielding (not liquid) with bright, clean flavors of citrus and hay.