Cheese is my favorite food! So, I was more than pleased to hear, earlier this year, that the Grafton Village Cheese Company had opened a cheese factory and retail shop across the river in Brattleboro, Vermont. The Grafton Cheese Company is situated at the old Retreat Farm, in the West River Valley, just up the road from the Brattleboro Retreat on Route 30. The buildings, some original and some new, retain the look of a dairy farm, fitting right in to the landscape.
I drove over to explore, in search of cheeses and snacks to take on a picnic on a bright September day. The retail shop features Grafton cheeses of many varieties, all available for tasting, as well as about 80 artisanal cheeses from New England and all over the world. I tasted several of the Grafton cheeses and settled on the Four Star Cheddar that had been aged for 4 years. It had a big flavor and was slightly crumbly in texture. I also picked up a piece of creamy Westfield Farm Blue Cheese to contrast with the cheddar, and some Vermont Common crackers.
Then I started looking for the rest of the picnic. In the cured meat section and I found some Ridgeway Venison Summer Sausage to go with the cheese. I grabbed a loaf of fresh bread from the Orchard Hill Bakery , and then went over to the wine section where I chose a bottle of Pine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc and a bottle of Freemark Abbey Cabernet that would be perfect with the bread and cheeses.
I browsed through the shop, looking at the maple syrup and maple products, the handmade cheese boards, Reidel wine glasses, Mocha Joe’s coffees, and even Ben and Jerry’s ice cream! I wandered over to the imported section and happened upon quince paste imported from Spain. A spread of that on the baguette with the cheese would be sublime!
I couldn’t resist stepping up to the section of the store that overlooks the cheese making area and watching the cheese makers hard at work for a few minutes. Cheese really is a miracle! It was a perfect day for a picnic and I couldn’t wait to spread the old quilt under a maple tree in the meadow and feast on all of the goodies that I had found at the Grafton Village Cheese shop!