Bayley Hazen Blue
Located in the rolling countryside of Greensboro, Vermont; Jasper Hill Farm was bought by brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler in 1998. When the farm came into their possession, it was extremely run-down, but by 2003, Andy and Mateo had acquired their first 15 Ayrshire heifers.
Ayrshire milk is particularly well-suited to cheesemaking, due to mid-range fat and protein content. The way the fats and proteins break down are a perfect platform for the development of an excellent cheese. The herd grazes from late spring to early fall and over successive years, the grazing land at Jasper Hill has been improved by planting a wide variety of clovers, grasses, and legumes that enhance the flavor of the milk. Thanks to careful management and a focus on building good genetics, the herd is now among the highest milking quality in the United States.
In addition to the farm and cheesemaking, the brothers have also developed another arm of the business, The Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Cellars, cheese maturing caves comprised of 22,000 square feet, were designed and built not only to house Jasper Hill's cheeses, but also to mature the cheeses of several Vermont-based producers. Jasper Hill's own range of cheeses includes Alpha Tolman, Bayley Hazen Blue, Constant Bliss, Harbison, Moses Sleeper, and Winnimere.
Bayley Hazen Blue is named for an old military road which traverses the Northeast Kingdom. The road was commissioned by George Washington and built to carry troops to fight the English on the Canadian front. Though no battle ever took place, the road brought the first settlers to Greensboro and is still in use today.
Bayley Hazen Blue is a buttery, natural-rinded cow's milk blue cheese, made primarily with morning milk, which tends to be lower in fat. Production takes place every other day. Mateo Kehler, managing member at Jasper Hill, developed the recipe by starting with a Devon Blue recipe from England, changing its shape, and aging it between 2 and 3 months to end up with a stable rind that will hold up under typical retail conditions.
The texture of Bayley Hazen is firm and slightly drier than many blues. The interior paste is cream colored and punctuated by blue-green pockets and veins.
Flavors are complex and multi-layered. The typical tang of the blue mold, Penicillium Roqueforti, takes a back seat to a wide array of flavors that include butter, chocolate, and occasionally licorice.
Bayley Hazen Blue is a versatile blue cheese that pairs well with tart and fruity flavors or deep and rich notes. Try it crumbled on a spinach salad, melted over a burger, or paired simply with a chunk of dark chocolate. To drink, either a fruity red wine or an Imperial Stout would be an excellent partner.