There’s a lot of excellent Cheddar cheese made in Vermont, but an absolute standout is the cloth-aged, raw milk Cheddar cheese from Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont.
If you’ve never run across a good cloth-aged Cheddar, you’re in for a treat. It’s a bit drier than other Cheddars—almost crumbly—with an aroma, flavor, and texture that may remind you of the very best parmigiano. The dry texture is an outcome of cloth aging, where cheese is aged in open air. This confers interesting flavor nuances and allows the cheese to dry out more quickly than if it were aged covered in plastic or in its own wax casing (which is how Shelburne Farms ages their oldest three- and four-year-old Cheddars). The cloth-wrapped Cheddar is aged between one and two years.
All Shelburne Farms, Cheddar cheese is made from raw milk that comes from the farm’s own herd of 120 Brown Swiss cows. The cows eat mainly grass and silage, all of which grows right on the farm. This remarkable, full-flavored cheese is a great way to end a meal, especially if you’ve got a few more sips of red wine in your glass. Recently I tried some Shelburne Farms Cheddar with dessert wine (a late-harvest Australian Semillon) and discovered that the two are great together. Shelburne Farms makes several Cheddars, aged anywhere from six months to four years. For more information, call the farm at 802-985-8686 or visit their Web site at www.shelburnefarms.org.