This is the fall edition of my new blog series: Local Prizes. Every quarter, I plan to release a list of my local favorites for the season. Here we go...
Bloomy-rind cheeses from Willow Hill Farm. The cheesemaker creates heaven on a plate with her lovely sheep and cow milk cheeses. Right now, the little sheep bloomy-rinds are not in season, but La Fleurie, a cow's milk bloomy rind is delicious and available. And the hard cheeses are soon to follow. My current favorite (it changes throughout the year, as the availability of cheese changes) is Summertomme, a bloomy sheep round that is coated in herbs. It is creamy, smooth, and delicious. It's great with a crusty baguette and fresh ripe tomatoes. Side note: I may be slightly biased here, but I absolutely love these cheeses. Each cheese is truly unique, and the yogurt is to die for.
Tomme Collins from Green Mountain Blue Cheese. It's a raw-milk tomme-style wheel, full-flavored and nutty with a sharp hint of pepper. It's delicious on its own, served with fresh fruit and crusty, or shaved over pasta. It's quite a find, and would be a great addition to a Vermont cheese plate. In fact, who needs a selection? This cheese stands perfectly on its own. Side note: Green Mountain Blue Cheese offers a selection of blue cheeses and washed rinds in addition to the Tomme Collins.
Feta from Doe's Leap. This is most definitely the best feta I have ever had. And coming from a feta addict, that means a lot. It is made with organic goats' milk and is salty, tangy and wonderful. It perfectly completes a Greek salad or a caramelized onion flatbread. It's great crumbled over roasted artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and pasta. More commonly, though, it doesn't even make it to the plate. It's just that good.
Produce from the Burlington Farmers' Market. Vermont has a huge number of farmers' markets now, some on weekends and some during the week. Even in October, the selection is outstanding: root vegetables, squashes (winter and summer), melons, greens, beans, peppers. Who needs a grocery store when we have such great local produce?