Another gem from The Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, this ash-ripened aged goat's milk cheese was creamy and ever so slightly piquant. These hand batched cheeses aren't ubiquitous, but well worth buying when found. I have yet to try any of their products that I haven't enjoyed. This was purchased at The Upper Valley Food Co-op in West Lebanon, N.H.
Yes, cereal. Not just any cereal, though. Frankly, I don't care for most cereals on the market. They are generally too high in carbs and simple sugars for my taste and either lack good texture or good taste. However, this cereal, Heritage Heirloom Whole Grains High Fiber from Nature's Path really stands out.
First of all, it is delicious with or without milk and with or without fruit. I like it best with non-homogenized whole milk from the nearby Battenville Creamery. It stays crisp in milk and has great flavor without being too sweet. While it has 24g of total carbohydrates per 30g serving, only 4g are sugars with 6g dietary fiber. The cereal also contains 4g per serving of protein. All in all, not bad for a breakfast cereal. While I believe the term "certified organic" has lost a lot of its meaning, all in all, I still prefer to eat "organic" than not. This is certified organic. The grains this is made from include wheat, spelt, oats, barley, millet and quinoa.
It seems fitting that with the Winter Olympics ongoing in Vancouver BC, my taste of the week would come from Canada. We purchased it, though, in New Hampshire at the Upper Valley Food Co-op while visiting our son for Dartmouth's Winter Carnival Weekend. While we can get other, less satisfying Nature's path cereals locally, for some reason this one isn't carried near us. As a result, we took advantage of the generally excellent Upper Valley Food Co-op and bought 5 bags of the cereal, unsure when we would return. Of course, the cereal was not the only item we purchased there. Their cheese department has a wonderful selection of Vermont and New Hampshire cheeses, many of which are hard to come by elsewhere and they carry a wide selection of my favorite beers - those from Unibroue, especially Fin du Monde. I was both surprised and taken aback at their seafood counter though. They have beautiful product and go so far as to employ a labeling system for their different seafood products as to whether they are considered sustainable, threatened or unsustainable, which I applaud. I was shocked, however, to discover that they actually sell fish that they have labeled as "unsustainable" such as Chilean Sea Bass and others. I queried the saleswoman about it. her response was that as a member organization, all they could do is educate, thus the labeling system. If members want specific product, they have to sell it! I asked her if they would sell Panda meat if members requested it? She didn't answer. I don't understand why an organization generally devoted " to supporting social and environmental responsibility" as they say on their website doesn't act even more responsibly when it comes to selling fish at risk of extinction or fished by processes destroying ocean ecosystems? What concerns me the most is what kind of chance do these fish or ecosystems have if even the "good guys", the people who are supposed to be doing things responsibly, don't act responsible?
Consider Bardwell Farm located in West Pawlet, Vermont just over the border from Washington County, N.Y. has generated a reputation for making world class cheeses from both goat and cow milks. I recently had the chance to visit the farm and at the same time observe both the making of cheese and the making of a quality video as Michael Crupain of The Dairy Show was there to film the process.
The picturesque and bucolic farm is owned by Angela Miller, Russell Glover and Chris Gray. The engaging Peter Dixon, formerly cheese maker at The Vermont Butter and Cheese Company is the head cheese maker at Consider Bardwell.
The cheese are made from milk the farm's own Oberhasli goats and from the nearby Jersey Girls Farm. Dixon makes a a number of different cheeses, but his favorites are the firmer, aged cheeses, like the cow's milk Rupert he was making in the photos above. To make these harder cheeses, it is important to cut the curds into extremely small pieces to get out as much liquid whey as possible. Softer cheeses are made from larger curds. Dixon is fastidious in his cheese making, making sure that all the little details are right and that his cheeses are consistent from batch to batch, or at least as consistent as an essentially natural product can be. His attention to details like the pH of the whey/curd combination shows through in the fine quality of the finished product as does the quality of the base milks.
Stay tuned to The Dairy Show for more on the process and the farm including what is sure to be another outstanding video.
When I went to college at Dartmouth in the late 70's and early 80's, the dining options suited my limited palate well enough. My palate has changed since then, however, and when my son was accepted last year, I was elated but had some mixed feelings about the food options. The College is a fabulous place in so many ways, affording tremendous opportunities to the lucky students who get to matriculate there. My one negative thought was the lack of any "destination" restaurants in the upper Connecticut River Valley. I wasn't even sure that they had any worthwhile restaurants or food producers. On a relatively recent visit, one of my old standbys was no longer so satisfying, yet it still drew long lines. That did not bode well.
Unexpected treats come in many guises and are always amongst the most appreciated. That is how I felt yesterday when I brought my son back to Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. after the Thanksgiving break. We were looking to find a bite to eat, when I remembered that the King Arthur Flour Co. had their headquarters in nearby Norwich, Vt. with a bakery attached to it. We quickly found its location on the iPhone and beelined it upon our early afternoon arrival in Hanover.