Cave to Co-op October 2015: Grafton Clothbound Cheddar

cheeseGrafton Clothbound Cheddar
raw cow milk, clothbound natural rind
Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton, VT

The Grafton Village Cheese Company was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, to convert surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. In 1912, the cheesemaking factory burned down and the community had no cheese facility until 1962, when the Windham Foundation restored the factory and brought cheesemaking back to the community. The Foundation is dedicated to promoting the rural communities of Vermont. The profits from Grafton Village Cheese go back into the Foundation to further its commitment to keep rural Vermont alive and thriving. Today, quality and taste are still the hallmarks of the company’s products.

graftonThe Grafton Cave Aged line of fine cheeses takes Grafton beyond its roots in Vermont Cheddar cheese. The cheese is carefully matured in Grafton’s own cave aging facility using raw milk from small Vermont family farms that is thermalized and contains no artificial hormones. The rennet used is a non-GMO microbial rennet, suitable for vegetarians.

Clothbound Cheddar is classic milled curd cow milk cheddar wrapped in cheesecloth while it ages slowly in Grafton’s caves for a minimum of six months. Grafton Clothbound delivers a very bold cheese with both nut and mushroom notes.  This cheese is delicious this time of year and serving it with a piece of ripe local apple or pear would be just about perfect.  We also recommend it in the kitchen, and here are a few autumnal recipes to try out.


Corn Pudding with Grafton Clothbound Cheddar
Serves 6

Pre-heat oven to 350º F
Butter a 2 quart baking dish or 6 individual ramekins

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn – about 1 cup
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, grated

Melt the butter in a medium skilled over medium-high heat. Cook the pepper and onion until translucent and tender. Transfer mixture to a plate to cool. In a blender or food processor, combine corn and ¼ cup of the half and half and puree until thick. Add remaining half and half, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Process until well combined. Stir in the cheese and the reserved peppers and onion. Pour into the baking dish or ramekins. Bake until the pudding is set all the way by checking to see if a paring knife comes out clean when inserted in the center – 50 to 60 minutes. If pudding starts to get too brown, cover it loosely with a piece of foil. Serve immediately.
Cheese Puffs with Grafton Clothbound Cheddar
Makes 36 puffs

Pre-heat oven to 375º F
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups (about 6 ounces) shredded Grafton Clothbound Cheddar cheese

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup water, the butter and salt, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough starts to pull away from sides of pan and form a lump. Set aside, without stirring, 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. With each addition, dough will look glossy and slick at first; let it come together before adding next egg. Mix in mustard, cayenne and cheese. Dough will be quite loose and sticky.
Scoop up a heaping teaspoon of dough and use another spoon to scrape it onto lined pan; it should form a mound about an inch in diameter. Alternatively, use a pastry bag or thick plastic bag with one corner cut off, to pipe small mounds onto pan. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving 1/2 inch between puffs. Bake until puffy and golden, about 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Remove from oven and serve immediately, or turn oven off and open door slightly to keep puffs warm up to 1 hour.


Grafton Clothbound Cheddar Soup w/Beer and Kielbasa
Serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. lager
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb link kielbasa sausage, cut into 6–8 pieces
  • 1 apple, cored, sliced

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in broth, beer, and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10–15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheese a handful at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to ensure cheese is melted. Working in batches if needed, transfer soup to a blender and purée until smooth (alternatively, use an immersion blender in the pot). Season with salt and pepper. Using a paring knife, score sausage, spacing cuts ½” apart. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a large grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausages, turning occasionally, until browned and crisp in spots, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Toss apple in remaining 1 tsp. oil in a small bowl. Cook in same grill pan until softened and slightly charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Divide soup among bowls; top with sausage and apple.


Apple Crisp with Grafton Clothbound Cheddar
Serves 6

Pre-heat oven to 350º F

  • 4 cups of mixed apple varieties cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider
  • 1/3 plus ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
  • ½ cup rolled oats, not quick cook
  • ¼ cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick -1/2 cup – of unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, grated

Combine the apples, lemon juice or cider and the 1/3 cup of brown sugar in a medium bowl. Arrange evenly in an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. In another medium bowl, combine the oats, flour and spices to mix. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and forms pea size little lumps. Gently mix in the cheese. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the juices bubble up and the top is nicely browned. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve with heavy cream.


Cheddar Salad w/Grafton Clothbound and Heirloom Apples
Serves 4

  • 6 Heirloom apples
  • 1 Cup of golden raisins
  • 1 Cup of pecans or hazelnuts, toasted
  • 8 ounces Grafton Clothbound cheddar,  shaved
  • 2 cups of arugula, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup homemade vinaigrette

Core and cube the apples – peel if you wish – and place in a medium bowl. Add the raisins, nuts and cheddar. Gently fold in the vinaigrette. Refrigerate for at least an hour and toss in the arugula just before serving.

Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers.  The NFCA is a network of more than 20 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise.  For more information, please visit