Sunday, December 20, 2015

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Cabot Cheese

     I recently ended a long, 5 and a half month tour of Vermont for work.  Which I really liked.  As a fan of cooler temperatures, you can't beat Northern New England for more bearable summers (except maybe Alaska, or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).  Also, Vermont is undeniably an attractive state--great views of mountains and forests, and pretty much every cute little town resembles something that Norman Rockwell would have painted.  And if you're into craft beer like I am, Vermont is awesome.  Beer snobs have all heard of The Alchemist, Lawson's, and Hill Farmstead, but there are many other good to great breweries, including Frost, 14th Star, Otter Creek, etc.
     One more thing Vermont, and New England as a whole, is known for is Cabot Creamery.  With good reason--with sales over $300,000,000 per year, they are one of the most successful dairy corporations in the country, and the world.  Cabot dates back to 1919, and it takes its name from the original dairy in Cabot, Vermont.  After struggling in the late 1980's, there were revitalized after being taken over by Agri-Mark Cooperative in 1992.  They consist of about 1200 individual dairy farms, scattered across New England and New York state.  They're world renowned for their cheese, and other dairy products.  Just staying recent, their cloth-bound cheddar was included on the list of the 100 greatest cheeses in the world in 2008 by Wine Spectator,  Also in 2008, their Monterey Jack received an award from the American Cheese Society.
    Although, to give the full story, there is a dark side.  I was surprised to read that the organization has been negligent in several cases.  An ammonia spill from one of their dairies killed thousands of fish and other aquatic creatures in the Winooski River in 2007.  And in 2011 the Vermont Attorney General Office declared that their products indicated use of the taboo hormone rBST.  In both of these cases Cabot paid five figure fines, and in the 2011 incident they were forced to also donate $75,000 worth of dairy products to local food banks.
     I decided to go with what must be their flagship brand, cheddar cheese.  Specifically their sharp cheddar.  And it was good.  Sharp as indicated, and I had absolutely no problem finishing the small block, most of it plain, by itself.  However, I must admit that the Australian version of this same cheese type (Old Croc, see November 22, 2015 blog post) was a little bit tastier.  So not to be unpatriotic or anything, but for this cheese I'm afraid the Land Down Under had the superior product.
     If you're interested, Cabot has a website, of course.  Even a blog, which contains recipes, info about individual dairy farms, and news about their charitable endeavors.
     So, if effect, my sort of quest to find a cheese I don't like continues.  At this point I'm pretty confident that this "goal" will never be attained.

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