Scrumptious entertaining, cooking and snacking with Vermont Creamery [classic article]

I have a very famous friend who claims he can’t cook at all. When he wants to entertain or be entertained, he puts a plaintive call out on the internet . . . sometimes, it’s for soup or health food or steaks. I don’t know how successful he is at this. He might be, after all, he is very famous. But, I think it’s sad that he won’t make tasty things at his house and really, there’s a way for him to get a leg-up on easy lusciousness! Vermont Creamery creates all manner of gourmet dairy treats that you can serve on their own or easily combine with things to make your own inventions! I was very happy to be hosted to experience it.

For super easy entertaining or a fun little dinner for yourself, put out a wooden board or a slate board and make up a luxe cheese plate!

Here’s what they say about Cremont:

Cremont named for the “Cream of Vermont” is a mixed-milk cheese combining local fresh cows’ milk, goats’ milk and a hint of Vermont cream. This cheese is a true celebration of Vermont Creamery’s terroir. An American original crafted in the bucolic Green Mountains of Vermont that combines the nutty taste from of our crème fraîche, the creamy texture of our Bonne Bouche, and the wrinkled geotrichum rind of our Bijou.

A special cocktail of yeast and mold are added to create its unique flavor and to coagulate the milk overnight. The fresh curd is shaped by hand and then aged for two weeks to develop the unique cream colored rind and luxurious, smooth interior. Enjoy slathered on crusty bread with fig jam, or share with friends as part of a cheeseboard.

Cremont is mild but complex. Its rind adds interest. It’s creamy, but still textured. It’s not as salty as other goat cheeses. The milk flavors are rich, with nutty/mineral/chalk notes.

Bonne Bouche is tender, earthy with ash and a slight tang. It has young, mild goatiness, but it’s still there. Pair it with a nutty cracker or cracked wheat cracker. There’s also a hit of salt. It’s got a creamy mouth-feel. This is what they say about it:

Bonne Bouche is the flagship of Vermont Creamery’s signature geotrichum-rinded aged goat cheeses. Introduced in 2001, Bonne Bouche quickly won acclaim. Today it is one of the most popular “geo” cheeses on the market and has been awarded some of the most prestigious honors in the cheese world. Reminiscent of the Loire Valley cheeses of France, Bonne Bouche means “good mouthful” and is indeed a tasty bite.

Made with fresh pasteurized goats’ milk from family farms, the curd is carefully hand ladled, lightly sprinkled with ash, and aged just long enough to develop a rind. After about ten days, the cheeses are packaged in their individual crates and sent to market where they will continue to age up to eighty days. As a young cheese, the rind has a pleasant yeast flavor and creamy interior becoming softer and more piquant as it ages.

For an intro to goat cheese, or to accompany salted nuts, try the fresh goat cheese — either plain or covered in Herbes de Provence. Their mild, clean flavors are fun to pair with wine.

For the culinarily challenged, I would urge you to run — not walk — and pick up some Vermont Creamery crumbled goat cheese. It comes in all kinds of interesting flavors, like Apricot & Thyme, Tomato & Basil. You can use these to doctor up salads in a bag and make them fit for company. Hell, you can doctor some canned soup! Don’t laugh; years ago, I was invited to a date where the guy served tomato soup straight out of the can. With some crumbled Tomato & Basil, then you’d have a tasty dish.

Let’s talk about upgrading some other kitchen staples home cooks should consider. Vermont Creamery crème fraîche and crème fraîche with Madagascar Vanilla (the best in the world) each have fantastic culinary uses. The plain will replace sour cream with a richer, nuttier flavor. Think about upgrading Stroganoffs, gratin sauces. I even added it to a real down-home cheesy rice bake for a more farm to table flavor, opposed to straight out of the box. The flavored crème fraîche is just ever so lightly sweetened, so you would still need to add sugar for desserts. Try it on gently warmed berries!

All butter is not the same. Repeat that to yourself! Stop with the generic store brand crap, because your recipes are only as good as the ingredients. Vermont Creamery European-Style Cultured Butter is made with lactic bacteria and Celtic sea salt (they also have a Maple style, too). It’s richer and denser than butter you’re used to, with just a touch of tang. If if soothes you, you use a little less, because it imparts more richness and flavor. Try this with sliced radishes and dark rye bread for an easy hors d’oeuvres!

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