Pigging Out at the Cheesemakers Festival | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

Pigging Out at the Cheesemakers Festival 

click to enlarge 6a00d83451b91969e20153902992f3970b-pi.jpg

I had to pinch myself every hour this Sunday to make sure I wasn't dreaming. The Vermont Cheesemakers festival at Shelburne Farms is my idea of heaven: a sunny barn filled with cheese, chocolate, wine, beer, strawberries and sausage.

This event was a farmers' market on steroids, where you were encouraged to stuff your face with meal-sized samples. Along with almost 2000 other food enthusiasts, I wandered from vendor to vendor, emitting sounds of delight over triple-cream goat cheeses and blue-cheese truffles. Baby goats snoozed in the sun near the lake, and Brown Swiss cows roamed the hills surrounding the festival, moaning like prehistoric beasts. 

Some vendors were more popular than others. I could hardly make my way to the table to sample goat tomme from Twig Farm. People seemed to be fighting for samples of Woodchuck hard cider. I lingered around the Fat Toad caramel, the Maplebrook burrata, Vermont Salumi and the Laughing Moon chocolates. 

I attended a seminar about beer and cheddar pairings, which offered not only four beers and six cheeses but also palate cleansers such as almonds, grapes, berries, bread, salami and more chocolate truffles. A very boisterous gastronome from Manhattan, Mike Colameco, led the tastings. Everybody seemed to agree that the best pairing was a Long Trail IPA and Grafton's two-year cheddar. The latter was potent and sharp, but it still had a full-bodied creaminess that stood out from the other cheeses. The beer was mellow and malty with a tail kick of hops. 

A cooking demonstration led by Tony Campos, a television host for New England Cooks, and Chef Steve Atkins from the Kitchen Table Bistro, turned out to be a disastrous comedy. The mic system malfunctioned, so Atkins couldn't budge from his station even to flip a steak without the speakers screeching. Campos had to act as Atkins' puppet, grabbing arugula out of the cooler and agitating endives on the grill. Luckily, he made light of his culinary incompetence by turning his mistakes into a comedy routine.

Despite this annoying drama, Atkins managed to make a few delicious dishes, such as his open-faced rib-eye grilled cheese with grilled yellow squash and a buttered-corn polenta. 

Despite my already bursting belly, the demonstration made me hungry for more samples. There were dishes of ice cream, maple cheesecake, and even roasted gourmet s'mores with maple crackers. After all of this sugar and cream, I finished with pickles. I was relieved to find pickled garlic, beets and cucumbers — the only green in a sea of oozing, crumbling wheels of white. 

click to enlarge 6a00d83451b91969e2015433fcf84f970c-pi.jpg

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: ,

Pin It

More by Frances Cannon

About The Author

Frances Cannon


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2019 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation