WINNIMERE IS COMING
The holiday season is here and with it comes the arrival of some of my favorite seasonal cheeses. Each time I visit the Cellars at Jasper Hill to taste and select cheeses for our shop, my question is the same: when is Winnimere coming? This spruce-bark wrapped, Vacherin Mont d’Or style cheese is made exclusively from the raw Ayrshire cow’s milk of Jasper Hill Farm, reaching its flavor potential as winter approaches and fat and protein levels increase in the milk. Remember Rush Creek Reserve, that spoonable beauty from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin?
Winnimere is the OG bark-wrapped American raw milk cheese, earning American Cheese Society’s prestigious Best in Show Award in 2013 when Rush Creek still had its training wheels on.
Jasper Hill Farm co-founder Mateo Kehler worked with cheesemaker Andy Hatch at Uplands to develop the Rush Creek recipe, but despite striking similarities between the two kinds of cheese, they are uniquely expressive of their inputs. This is the beauty of the new traditions of American farmstead cheesemaking: adapting centuries-old European practices to American terroir and exploring the radical diversity of microbes, and ultimately flavors, aromas, and textures they yield.
The 9.19.17 batch of Winnimere is one I’ve been following for weeks, waiting for it to come of age (a minimum of 60 days by law) as my friends at Jasper Hill tell tales of its legend. On September 17th, the ladies of Jasper Hill (Ayrshire cows, that is) were still on pasture, enjoying the last of summer forage and sunshine, making milk that was neither lean nor exceptionally fat. The resulting cheese was clean, bright, and savory with a texture that transformed from stiff custard into liquid silk in the Cellars. Jasper Hill’s sensory evaluation program is the most rigorous I have seen, using a tasting team of cheesemakers, affineurs (cheese agers), and salespeople to evaluate attributes like aroma and texture. One of the key indicators of success for a cheese is the “deliciousness factor”, a 1-10 composite number that rates how delicious something is independent of appearance or typicity. The graders at Jasper Hill are notoriously stingy with these ratings, evaluating every cheese as if it were before the judges of the highest competition.
9.19.17 Winnimere earned a deliciousness factor of 9.5–a rating reserved for unicorns and Best in Show winners.
Mustardy, smokey, and rich with a dreamy scoopable texture: this is the kind of stuff that keeps a cheesemonger up at night. Taste these stunning wheels yourself as I deliver them directly from the Northeast Kingdom to our Food Counter–they will not last, 9.19.17 Winnimere $27/whole piece.
Also new from Jasper Hill this week, Little Hosmer $8/pc a small format brie-style cheese named after a favorite summer swimming destination in Craftsbury. Little Hosmer just earned “Best New Cheese” and a Super Gold Trophy at the 2017 World Cheese Awards and is a great, crowd-pleasing cheese with a pristine rind and buttery flavor.
NEW HOUSE CHARCUTERIE
Dylan is at it again, dreaming up new delicacies for our already packed Charcuterie Case. The latest addition is a personal favorite of mine: Duck Confit Legs $20/lb.
"unbelievably rich texture that falls off the bone."
These New York duck legs are packed in salt with thyme and garlic, then poached or “confited” in their own fat for ten hours. The resulting leg is delicately seasoned with an unbelievably rich texture that falls of the bone. We have them vacuum-sealed in one and two-packs in the case. To prepare, simply sear over medium-high heat until crispy, or heat in a 375-degree oven until warm–10-15 minutes. Top a simple salad with goat’s cheese a dijon vinaigrette, or top lentils, farro, or polenta for a simple, warming dish.
Looking for some country-style pâté for your charcuterie board? Dylan just whipped up a new batch of our Pâté Forestier $32/lb, which uses VT pork, chicken livers, and shallots seasoned simply with mushrooms, sage, and rosemary. We’d be happy to cut you a sample at the Food Counter or check out our Wine Bar menu this week, which also features our famous Chicken Liver Mousse $10/pot. Pair these with new additions to our Cheese Case, like our House Romesco Sauce $10/pot topped with Tunisian olive oil, Grilled Roman Artichoke Hearts $10/pot, or Roasted Potato Salad $12/lb with Benton’s Country Bacon, crème fraîche, and grilled onions.
UNDERGROUND MEATS x UPLANDS CHEESE COLLABORATION
Our friends at Underground Meats in Madison, Wisconsin teamed up with local cheesemaker Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese (of Pleasant Ridge and Rush Creek fame) for a delicious new collaboration. The new Underground x Uplands Saucisson Sec $8 is made with Andy’s heritage breed hogs in Dodgeville and cured at Underground Meats in Madison. These pampered pigs feed on the nutrient-dense whey that drains from the curd throughout cheesemaking, yielding succulent meat rich in fat with a distinctly “cheesy” flavor. Underground seasons the pork with just salt, black pepper, and garlic and grinding coarsely to create a rustic texture in the classic cacciatorini format. At just over two ounces, these are great as a whole format for your cheese and charcuterie spread and are excellent for gift baskets and stocking stuffers.
Look out for this and new shipments of Underground Meats Sopressata $14, Ghost Pepperoni $14, Beef Heart Summer Sausage $12, and Finocchiona $6 in our Charcuterie Case.
Artisan Food Manager