Cheddar (Shelburne Farms 2 Year)
Located on the stunning shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont, Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit education center for sustainability, a 1,400-acre working farm, and National Historic Landmark. It was established in 1886 as an agricultural estate, and formed into an independent nonprofit organization in the 1970s. Today, school field trips, summer camps, workshops, and many other programs allow children, educators and families to learn in this place of natural and architectural beauty. Shelburne Farms has also hosted all of the Vermont Cheesemakers Festivals, an event that celebrates the state's artisans and local products.
A membership-supported organization, Shelburne Farms maintains a Brown Swiss dairy herd, a cheesemaking facility, and a seasonal inn to help support and enrich its educational work. The farm’s land use integrates education, agriculture, forestry, and historic preservation with tourism, a few private residences, and community and cultural activities. Under the guidance of Nat Bacon, the cheesemaking operation produces cheddar using raw milk from their own herd of Brown Swiss cows, made in the traditional style, but using modern equipment and old fashioned techniques.
The majority of the cheddar is produced in 40lb blocks and aged on site for either one or two years. It is hand cut into smaller blocks (half pound and one pound), then dipped in brown wax or sealed in cryovac for retail sale. Occasionally, Shelburne also produces a cloth-wrapped cheese made in the style of a traditional 50lb English cheddar. These are generally only sold on-site via the farm store or via Mail Order. Some cheeses are also selected for smoking at an age of between 6-9 months, which takes place at New Skete Monastery in New York state.
The texture of Shelburne’s two-year cheddar is dense, pleasantly moist, and slightly crumbly with occasional fissures. The interior paste ranges from a pale straw color in cheeses that are made with winter milk through to a brighter golden yellow for cheeses made during the summer. Flavors are mellow, full, sweet and buttery. It has a lengthy finish and achieves a great balance of flavors without being overly assertive.
Pair it with an IPA, a strong mustard, or with sourdough bread.