Behold Vermont Creamery’s St. Albans
St. Albans appeared on my stoop for Valentine’s. When I opened the door, it slipped into my house like a little fox. It’s quick like that, sleek too. Look at its velvet surface, the way it sleeps curled in its bed. Enchanting, isn’t it?
I have always loved how Vermont Creamery presents its cheeses. Credit cheesemaker Allison Hooper, goat-cheese diva (think Beyoncé of dairy), for turning American goat cheese into an aesthetic experience on many levels. You probably know her Bonne Bouche, which is packaged in wooden boxes, designed to mimic a cheese cave. The perforated wrapping allows air to flow around the cheese so it can breathe like a baby.
Why a cheese in a crock? (So you can bake it.)
St. Albans, Vermont Creamery’s newest cow’s milk release, comes in a crock — it’s inspired by the great French beauty St. Marcellin, from France, which is packed in a ceramic dish. Here’s why: the rind is so delicate, it cannot be transported any other way.
Here’s what’s really lovely: pop St. Albans into the oven, crock and all, and it melts into a luxurious mini fondue. Set out some crostini or boiled potatoes, and you have an elegant appetizer — or lunch for one. Baked St. Albans at your desk? Oh mercy, yesssss.
Here’s something else interesting about this foxy number: St. Albans is made with milk from cows raised on non-GMO grain. It’s part of Vermont Creamery’s recent company-wide commitment to buying milk from the purest sources. It’s not just a cheese, it’s a philosophy.
A Tea Pairing: Ruby Oolong
I invited my friend Alexis Siemons from Teaspoons & Petals to join me for a St. Albans lunch last week. I also asked her to bring a tea to pair, so we could play with a virtuous non-alcoholic pairing — I had been recipe-testing cocktails all week for With The Darlingtons and needed a time-out from my coupe glasses. Typically, I’d pair St. Albans with something bubbly, a dry sparkling wine or dry hard cider.
Alexis brought a pouch of organic Ruby Oolong, part of a new series of teas she has curated for La Colombe Coffee.
With long, luxurious notes of baked pears and a sustained floral finish, Ruby Oolong paired perfectly. To read more about Oolongs, check out this blog post by Alexis. In the meantime, try unveiling a little St. Albans on your coffee table some afternoon. Bake it at low temperature (I did 250 degrees) for about 10 minutes, then serve it with a cup of tea.
Where to Find: Check your local cheese counter or the cheese cases at Whole Foods and Wegmans. St. Albans is widely available.
What Else is New: I’ve got a Movie Night Menus Pop-Up Dinner at Martha in Philadelphia (2/21), and I’ll be at Philly Bierfest (2/25) in the cheese & cider room with a bunch of local cheesemakers offering samples!