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 and surrounding states. 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.
Meaning "jewel" in French, Bijou is one of Vermont Butter & Cheese's smallest cheeses and is made from pasteurized goat's milk. After culturing the milk is allowed to ripen for 24 hours before the curd is drained in cheesecloth overnight.
The following day, the young Bijou are formed and transferred to a drying room for 24 hours, before being moved to the main maturing room. There, cheeses develop their geotricum rind that gives them their character.
The rind of Bijou is delicate, thin, slightly wrinkly and pale cream in color. The texture of the cheese is moist, dense and crumbly in the center, becoming soft and smooth just under the rind as the cheeses mature.
Flavors are clean, milky and sweet with balanced rich notes of grass and hay.