State of Grace
From Vermont, here’s a one-of-a-kind collection of handmade pleasures
Populated by famously independent folk, Vermont is filled with artisans who excel at crafting unique specialty goods. Celebrating this regional creativity, our cheese plate selection unites the work of three small-scale cheesemakers, a third-generation beekeeper, one cider-jelly maker, a baker, and one singularly talented glassblower—all from the Green Mountain state. Best of all, you can enjoy this proud handmade collection no matter where you live. (See p. 21 to order this culture exclusive.)
the cheeses (pictured left–right)
Scholten Family Farm
Pasteurized cow’s milk
Made by Vermonters Patty and Roger Scholten, Weybridge is a pasteurized cheese produced from the organic milk of the couple’s small herd of Dutch Belted cows. Relatively new to cheesemaking, Patty became interested in the craft after signing up for a cheesemaking course while working at Middlebury College. The Scholtens, who lease land from the college, partnered with the school to build a cheesemaking facility on-site. The couple transfers their very young cheeses to the Cellars at Jasper Hill for further maturation and sale.
Weybridge is a small, bloomy-rind cheese weighing three ounces. It is delicate and slightly chalky when young, with fresh lactic and buttery flavors. The paste of the cheese becomes runny and more assertive with age, delivering deeper, richer, and more complex flavors.
von Trapp Farmstead
Raw cow’s milk
This third-generation hillside farm run by brothers Sebastian and Dan von Trapp focuses on organic production with a predominately Jersey herd. The washed-rind Oma cheese—a raw milk tomme aged between two and three months—is named after their grandmother who settled the farm with her husband in 1959. Young, finished cheeses are matured at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The interior paste of Oma is semisoft and golden in color, typical of the Jersey milk used for production, and its brown-orange rind is thin yet dense, with a light dusting of white mold. Flavors are mild and buttery with an earthy aroma reminiscent of French Reblochon.
Queso del Invierno
Raw cow’s and sheep’s milk
Queso del Invierno is the creation of David Major of Vermont Shepherd. Having originally bought the family farm from his parents, Major was among the first small-scale cheesemakers in the United States to begin producing sheep’s-milk cheese in 1990. Vermont Shepherd was also among the first to dig its own maturing caves, which are built into the side of a hill on the property.
One of two cheeses made by Major, Queso del Invierno (“winter cheese”) is created during the winter months from a blend of sheep and cow’s milk. Shaped like a flying saucer, each wheel is matured for four to five months, lending a firm and slightly flaky texture. Beneath a close-knit rind, the interior is a pale golden yellow; flavors are very rich, earthy, and mushroomy, with hints of butter, cream, and salt.
Cider Apple Jelly
Wood’s Cider Mill
The first records of apple-cider jelly production in Vermont date to the 1660s; the Wood family has been making it continuously since the 1882. The family’s Cider Apple Jelly is made predominantly from McIntosh apples sourced from local orchards and pressed on the farm’s original screw press, without preservatives or sweeteners. The super-concentrated amber jelly boasts a slight tartness that balances the sweeter flavors of the cheeses, whose saltiness accentuates the fruit.
Middlebury Maple Crackers
After discovering an old recipe while studying food history, Whitney Lamy launched a range of crisp, rustic, handmade crackers to complement Vermont’s unique cheeses. Her Middlebury Maple variety of Castleton Crackers has a distinct maple sweetness that pairs perfectly with the salty tang of both fresh and aged cheese.
Crystallized Raw Honey
Champlain Valley Apiaries
Charles Mraz’s family has been producing honey since 1931, when his grandfather first started Champlain Valley Apiaries. Today the family business manages thirty hives spread across the Champlain Valley, each housing 25 to 40 colonies of bees that forage across fields containing a wide variety of grasses such as alfalfa, trefoil, clover, and hay. The honey’s texture is creamy and thick, yet spreadable, with a fine crystallization that is remarkably smooth on the tongue.
Culture commissioned Vermont artist and glassblower Brendan Miller to create a limited edition plate exclusively for serving cheese. Bringing traditional Italian glassblowing techniques to contemporary design, Miller’s striking cheese plate is functional and durable. Individually handblown, numbered, and signed by the artist, each of the fifty 10-inch clear glass dishes incorporates a radial bubble pattern, a bright orange rim, and hand-stamped culture logo in the center. Priced at $90, this Vermont artisan cheese plate will serve your cheese well for years to come. (See p. 21 to order the plate, Vermont cheeses, and accompaniments.)
Photography by Les Jorgensen