Sunday, June 3, 2012

Seven Vaults

The seven underground vaults at Jasper Hill Cellars house Vermont's finest aged cheese. Thanks to a weekend I spent at Shelburne Farms called "Pasture To Palate", I and a few others were lead on a private tour of this remarkable (not open to the public) facility in Greensboro, VT.  It's
important to understand how these new caves are supporting small cheese makers around the region that may not otherwise be able reach and succeed in national markets. Aging cheese is a 'value-added' strategy with many benefits. Currently the Cellars is aging six or more different cheeses from small farms.

Inside and out of the vaults you could't miss the strong ammonia smell. Ammonia is a natural by-product of cheese aging. In France they say if you don't tear up from the ammonia the cheese is not ready or it's not a good cave. Hundreds of wheels of cheese are carefully stacked 10 shelves high, row after row. This was very cool to see in person. Shelburne Farms Clothbound Cheddar is made at Shelburne Farms, then aged at the Cellars for more than a year. Tasting cheddar right in the cave, straight from a test wheel, was an elegant way to experience cheese straight from the source. 

All cheddar!

Just larded Shelburne Farms Cheddar. They aging is just beginning.

We tasted a couple different test wheels.

Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese. Fudge-like texture, toasted-nut sweetness, and anise spice character. 

All Bayley Hazen is hand spiked. The air awakens the penicillin spores. 

It is aged three months

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