Founded in 1984 by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese, Vermont Creamery is located near Websterville, Vermont. Having spent time with a small-scale cheesemaker in Brittany during the 1970s, 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 Department of Agriculture. The chèvre was a hit and after some experimentation, Bob and Allison decided to go into production on a more formal basis, founding Vermont Creamery.
Milk for cheese production comes from twenty-one family farms in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Quebec. Each farm has an average herd size of approximately 150 goats. Vermont Creamery 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 Creamery's smallest cheeses and is made from pasteurized goat's milk. After culturing, the milk is allowed to ripen for twenty-four hours before the curd is drained overnight in cheesecloth. The following day, the young Bijou is formed and transferred to a drying room for twenty-four hours, before being moved again to the main maturing room. There, the cheeses develop their Geotrichum candidum rind that develops their distinctive character.
Flavors are clean, milky, and sweet with rich, balanced notes of grass and hay. The rind of Bijou is delicate, thin, slightly wrinkly, and a pale cream color, while the texture of the paste is moist, dense, and crumbly in the center, becoming soft and smooth just under the rind as the cheeses mature.