Our Cave to Co-op cheese for February 2019 is Grafton Clothbound from Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton, Vermont.
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.
The 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 Vermontfamily farms that is thermalized and contains no artificial hormones. The rennet used is 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.
Grafton Clothbound is delicious any time of year on a cheese plate or in a sandwich or just eaten out of hand. Here are a few recipes as well.
Grafton Clothbound Cheddar Soup w/Kielbasa
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 6 T unsalted butter
1/3 C all-purpose flour
3 C chicken or vegetable broth
12 oz beer or ale
½ C cream
8 oz Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, grated
salt and pepper
1 lb Kielbasa sausage, sliced thinly
paprika to taste
1. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, 8–10 minutes.
3. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes.
5. Whisk in broth, beer, and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10–15 minutes.
6. 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.
7. Use an immersion blender directly in the pot to purée the soup until it is smooth.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Cook sausage pieces in a skillet with 1 teaspoon of oil, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden.
10.Divide soup between bowls and top with sausage and a sprinkling of paprika.
Cheddar Salad w/Grafton Clothbound & Apples
6 Heirloom apples
1 cup of golden raisins
1 cup of pecans or hazelnuts, toasted
8 oz Grafton Clothbound cheddar, shaved
2 cups of arugula, washed and dried
¼ cup homemade vinaigrette
1. 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.