Vermont Shepherd: An Invitation to Nature
November 2, 2010
Vermont Shepherd is an honest cheese. The cheese evokes images of green meadow, good soil, wet stone and sheep. This appealing cheese seems as if it arrived at my table from a farm in my backyard, with little interference from man. Vermont Shepherd is direct, straight-forward and enjoyable.
This is a well-crafted raw sheep’s milk cheese. Vermont Shepherd Farm began production of this farmstead cheese in the 1990’s. It is a firm cheese that was influenced by sheep’s milk cheeses from the Pyrenees.
Vermont Shepherd looks like a stone that has been shaped by wind and water. The exterior is dry, with a smooth top and bottom and pocked sides. The rind has layered tints of brown, tan, gray and white. The interior paste is pale milky yellow with infrequent small gouges.
Vermont Shepherd smells earthy. Its rind has an aroma of soil and stone; its perfume is freshly dug potatoes and damp cave. The paste has scents of butter and sweet grass.
Vermont Shepherd’s flavors are initially mild before intensifying. This early mildness establishes a nice contrast for the stronger tangy and nutty flavors that follow. There is an underlying sweetness to the cheese that provides balance. Its texture is grainy and chewy. Vermont Shepherd leaves a mild nutty flavor in the mouth.
Vermont Shepherd is a tasty cheese that is easy to enjoy. Its chewy texture makes it a good snacking cheese. It would make a good addition to a casual meal or picnic. With its back-to-nature profile, Vermont Shepherd would be an excellent compliment to a day-hike.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Vermont Shepherd at Cheese Plus (San Francisco). This cheese is available seasonally.