This past weekend, we were treated to a culinary outing that you just have to experience! Shelburne Farms, in Shelburne Vermont hosted the Vermont Cheese Makers’ Festival.
This beautifully landscaped, 1400 acre farm, on the shore of Lake Champlain, is so much more than just beautiful, it is its own supportable campus. For a little history, the farm was established in 1886 as the estate of William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. Their descendants, two of which I was honored to meet at our breakfast, decided to form a nonprofit organization in hopes to build an agricultural learning center to support a more sustainable future. This site was the perfect backdrop for the Cheese Makers’ Festival… There were over 40 cheese makers from the region represented, as well as Artisan food, candy, wine and cider vendors (we sampled everything!). Cooking demonstrations by different chefs and cheese makers were ongoing throughout the day in the tents that were set up near the Coach Barn. I took tons of photos so here goes:
Festival goers wasted no time setting up their chairs on the shore of the lake to grab some breeze and relax with their wines.
The kids had a great time too! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)
And there was CHEESE…..
We loved so many but found the Bonnieview Farm “Bonnie Blue” cow’s milk cheese to be our favorite of the day. Creamy, almost melt in your mouth, delicately marbled, tangy blue….It got our vote for fest best!
O Bread Bakery got in the cheese spirit with this cow made from bread! We brought home a loaf of their Chile Cheese Ciabatta. The ingredients include Shelburne Farms Cheddar cheese and a blend of Chipotle and Habanero Chiles….a nice kick! Our fest pick for artisan food.
The reemergence of Rye whiskies being distilled is certainly becoming more popular (and welcome) today. It is a labor of love for the distiller to work with this grain and turn it into a smooth, clean drinking whiskey. The Whistlepig Whiskey served up some rye cocktails. Amazing!
What came first? The cheese or the wine? Doesn’t matter as long as they are paired together! The Shelburne Vineyard was founded by a local farmer utilizing a piece of land at the Shelburne farms to start his grape vines. Once up and running, the winery was moved out to the current location on Shelburne Road. The wine and beverage director at the Inn recommended that I try the Louise Swenson Dry white. The Louise Swenson grape is a hearty, cold weather grape which thrives in the climates of Vermont. It was cool, crisp and fruity without being sweet. My kind of wine.
Once we made our way through all the tents we waited for a tractor drawn wagon to take us on a ride through the woods (shade! beautiful shade!) to the Farm Barn to watch cheese making in its cheddaring stage.
We stopped at the Farm Cart for a fresh lemonade and a light salad of garden greens, roasted vegetables, quinoa and other sprouted grains, tossed in a light vinaigrette…. the perfect palate cleanser for all the cheese we tasted!
This festival is a must for your calendar next year. It would make a great weekend trip when combined with other tours of the farm, the Shelburne Museum or close by Burlington for shopping. To stay on the farm at one of the Inn’s 24 guest rooms and dine at their Farm-to-Table Restaurant, contact Shelburne Farms at 802-985-8498. The Inn is seasonal – mid-May to mid-October but the farm is open year round.