UVM students who love cheese are insanely spoiled, because Vermont has an unbelievable local cheese scene. I’ve tried a lot of local cheeses, but there are so many different varieties that I have yet to experience.
According to the Vermont cheese council (yes, it’s a real thing), their cheese making members produce over 150 varieties of award winning artisan and farmstead cheese. However, for those who eat most of their meals on campus, it can be hard to see just how many local cheeses surround them.
Lucky for us, many of the restaurants in Burlington use local cheeses in their dishes. With so many different options right in the state of Vermont, why wouldn’t they? Listed below (in no particular order) are 7 Vermont cheese brands, and a few of the places in Burlington that you can find each of them.
Disclaimer: Cabot has not been included in this list only because it’s very easily found on or off campus.
1. Vermont Creamery (Websterville, VT)
Vermont Creamery (previously known as Vermont Butter and Cheese) sells a wide variety of dairy products, including cream, butter, and fresh cheese made from cow milk. They also make fresh and aged cheeses from goat milk. One of their aged goat cheeses, Bijou, won 1st place at the American Cheese Society competition in July 2015, for the second year in a row.
Find the brand: Bluebird Barbecue, City Market, The Daily Planet, Mirabelles
2. Maplebrook Farm (Bennington, VT)
Maplebrook Farm started as an operation that involved making mozzarella balls in a kitchen. They’ve expanded a lot over the years, distributing their products all along the east coast. Maplebrook Farm produces a lot of fresh and authentic cheeses, like mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. Five of their cheeses won awards at the 2014 New England Regional Cheese Competition. Their Cheddar Bites received a gold, and they’re absolutely perfect for poutine.
Find the brand: Leunig’s, Magnolia Bistro, Pizzeria Verita, Sweetwater’s, UVM’s University Marché
Try: Cheddar Bites (Curds)
3. Jasper Hill Farm (Greensboro, VT)
The Cellars at Jasper Hill ripens the cheese made by Jasper Hill Creameries. All of their cheeses are made using milk from a single herd of cows. The 2014 World Cheese Awards deemed their Bayley Hazen Blue the best unpasteurized cheese in the world. It’s made from whole raw cow milk and aged for 3-4 months, and is exceptionally creamy and smooth. Their decadent brie-style cheese, Moses Sleeper, is also pretty popular.
Find the brand: American Flatbread, The Farmhouse Tap + Grill, Hen of the Wood, The Skinny Pancake
Try: Bayley Hazen Blue
4. Shelburne Farms (Shelburne, VT)
Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit organization that is 1400 acres of farm and forest. It’s an exciting place to visit because of frequent food-related events, like its annual Harvest Festival. Shelburne Farms is very focused on environmental, economical, and cultural sustainability, as well as educating the youth. They make a variety of farmhouse cheddars using raw milk from their grass-based herd of purebred Brown Swiss cows.
Find the brand: American Flatbread, Burlington Farmer’s Market (Saturdays), Lucky Next Door, Penny Cluse
Try: Smoked Cheddar
5. Grafton Village Cheese (Grafton, VT)
The Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company was founded in 1892 by dairy farmers who made their surplus milk into cheese together. Cooperatives like these were common in rural agricultural communities before refrigeration existed. One of their cheeses, Shepsog, has won awards at the World Cheese Awards for several different years, and it has received a first place ribbon at the American Cheese Society competition. It is made of local sheep and cow milk, which is cave aged for at least five months. A velvety rind surrounds its yellow semi-firm paste.
Find the brand: Butch + Babe’s, Duino Duende, Hen of the Wood, The Swingin’ Pinwheel
6. Champlain Valley Creamery (Middlebury, VT)
Champlain Valley Creamery is certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF). They make their cheese by hand in a net-zero solar-powered building. Two of their cheeses, Organic Champlain Triple and Old Fashioned Organic Cream Cheese, are American Cheese Society Winners. Organic Champlain Triple is a soft ripened triple creme with a bloomy white rind. It’s aged for approximately 10 days, and it has a rich and creamy interior flavor with an earthy rind.
Find the brand: El Cortijo, New Moon Café, Penny Cluse, Vermont Pub and Brewery
Try: Organic Champlain Triple
7. Willow Hill Farm (Milton, VT)
This brand uses certified organic sheep milk and non-GMO vegetarian rennet. Each of their cheeses is made using original recipes and is ripened in their underground cave. Their “Butternut” cheese has won international awards, including the Gold Medal at the 2011 World Cheese Awards. Butternut is a plank-aged Alpine style cheese made from cow milk, and it’s available year-round.
Find the brand: Burlington Farmer’s Market (Saturdays), City Market