Formaggio - Cheesemaker Royale - Vermont vs. New York

Last night was a pretty epic battle between two cheesemakers: Veronica Pedraza from Meadowood Farms in Cazenovia, New York, and Chris Gray from Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont. It was an amazing opportunity to talk to the cheesemakers, and to learn how much work goes into creating really delicious cheeses!

Both cheesemakers started out strong. Meadowood Farms brought in Ledyard, a sheep's milk cheese wrapped in beer soaked grape leaves, paired with Lo Brusc 'Montagne de Lure' honey and Empire Brewing Company Lager. It faced tough competition from Consider Bardwell Farm's Manchester, a raw goat's milk tomme, paired with Tupelo honey and Back Acre Sour Golden Ale. This was a very tough choice, but Consider Bardwell Farm had a slightly better pairing, so they won my vote for this round!

Round two was another tough round, but, to be honest, they all were! Both farms brought their A-game to this battle, and in the end, everyone who was there was a winner. Meadowood Farms' Rippleton started off this round. Rippleton is a sheep's milk cheese with a washed rind. It was served with whole seed mustard, black rye bread, and cornichons, with Empire Brewing Company Lager to drink. Consider Bardwell Farm responded to this challenge with Pawlet, a washed rind raw cow's milk cheese served with honeycrisp apple and Trout River Rainbow Red Ale. As delicious as the ale was, my vote went to Meadowood Farms this round!

Meadowood Farms Lorenzo was transformed into a delicious pimento cheese for the third round. The sheep's milk cheese that is washed with cider was mixed with pequillo peppers and smoked Spanish paprika before being spread on Iggy's white French loaf. It was paired with the ever-classy Genesee Cream Ale, which made for a tasty combination. Consider Bardwell Farm's Dorset was up next; it's a washed-rind cow's milk cheese that was paired with a dried Turkish fig and Shed Mountain Ale. Another tough vote, but Consider Bardwell Farm won my vote for this round.

Round four began with Meadowood Farms' "happy accident" Ten Eyck, a manchego-style sheep's milk cheese that is fairly rare. It was paired with Scarlet Lady apples from Vermont and Harvest Moon 'Heritage Hops', an excellent combination. Consider Bardwell Farm's final entry was Rupert, a raw, aged cow's milk cheese that paired brilliantly with hazelnuts and the Alchemist's 'Heady Topper'. Another tough round, and another win for Consider Bardwell Farm. Although Consider Bardwell Farm won three out of four rounds for me personally, for the class it was a tie, which will hopefully lead to another battle in the future!


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