Cheese of the week: Ascutney Mountain
We are lucky to live in Vermont, being surrounded by land that supports artisan cheesemaking and, of course, these gorgeous Green Mountains of ours. With this particular combination of fertile land and natural beauty, it’s no surprise that many local cheesemakers find inspiration and recipes in similar areas abroad, not the least of which includes the Swiss Alps. This week, we highlight a cheese made here in Vermont but with definite roots in the Alps: Ascutney Mountain Cobb Hill Cheese, part of the intentional community of Cobb Hill in Hartland,Vermont. Ascutney Mountain is a semi-firm farmstead alpine-style cheese made with raw Jersey cow’s milk and aged at least seven months to develop a full flavor and a natural rind. Younger wheels have a stronger Swiss cheese flavor which mellows and deepens with time, but regardless of age, the cheese is always bright and sweet with a slight fungal tang and a long, fruity finish. It is a star on any cheese platter but can also be used creatively in meals because it melts well (how about using it atop French Onion soup?) Although based initially on the Swiss Appenzeller recipe, Ascutney Mountain has rightfully claimed glory of its own, winning several awards during the past six years, and we are proud to carry it in our store.