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Archive for the ‘Dairy’ Category

Berry season is almost upon us.  That means quarts and pints chockfull of strawberries and blueberries that disappear before you’re home from the market.  For those berries that survive the car ride home, their destination is often a starring role in a crisp, buckle or grunt.  There’s no better companion to fresh berries or a baked berry dessert than vanilla ice cream.  The Sapbucket recently did a taste comparison of two of Vermont’s finest purveyors of frozen dairy products.

Islands Ice Cream French Vanilla – The ice cream was a white-cream color with small flecks of vanilla bean throughout.  There’s no fooling that this is a milky ice cream.  It’s delightfully rich and thick, coating your mouth in a wonderful way.   That leaves the taste of sweet, vanilla creamy milk lingering as you contemplate whether you want another scoop.

Leonardo’s Vanilla Bean Gelato – The gelato has a yellowy cream color with flecks of vanilla bean size of freshly ground pepper.  The vanilla flavor jumps out at you from the first taste and is prevalent in every bite.  The gelato was slightly icier and sugary than the ice cream, but I describe those characteristics only to distinguish the two.  It was similarly rich and delicious, the perfect companion to a berry dessert.

Verdict: Two tremendous vanilla options for a summer brimming with opportunity for dessert. 

Made in Grand Isle, Island Ice Cream is available throughout Franklin, Chittenden and Grand Isle counties.  Leonardo’s Gelato is made in Barre, and is sold at locations throughout central and northern Vermont.  Like Island Ice Cream on Facebook here and like Leonardo’s on Facebook here.  

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Cobb Hill Maple Frozen Yogurt

We recently dubbed Rock Art’s Vermont Maple Wheat the Snow White of maple beers.  Well this week, we’re back with more maple deliciousness.  I’ve spent my entire life being satisfied with maple sugar candy in the shape of maple leaves and small figurines.  Little did I know that a treat so delicious existed that it would undermine all of your assumptions about maple candy.

Enter Cobb Hill Maple Frozen Yogurt.  I’ve grown accustomed to frozen maple products tasting as though they are largely flavored with maple extract.  Cobb Hill’s yogurt is just true maple.  It literally tastes as though you are eating frozen maple candy.  For most folks a small bowl, just a scoop or two, will likely be enough.  For the maple fanatic it’s a dream come true.  Until I have another frozen yogurt or ice cream I’m dubbing this as the maple-iest frozen product out there.

Verdict: Buy it.  Eat it.  Love it. 

This Cobb HIll yogurt hails from Hartland, we stocked up on it at Hunger Mountain Co-Op.  Check out their full line of frozen yogurts as well as their core principles and philosophy

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Green Mountain Creamery is a relative newcomer into the yogurt market in Vermont. Made in Brattleboro by Commonwealth Yogurt, an offshoot of the German Erhmann AG Company, its greek yogurt began showing up on grocery store shelves last year. The company plans to produce a staggering 190 million small cups annually, many of which will be produced as private label yogurts for grocery chain stores outside of Vermont. By all accounts Commonwealth has exceeded expectations, hiring more staff, maintained steady production of yogurt, and learned pretty quickly they actually need more milk then is available in Vermont. That’s a hard fact to wrap your head around. Vermont dairy farms still struggle to make ends meet while demand for milk continues to increase. I don’t have the answer, but one certainly hopes that there’s a way to get Commonwealth enough milk so as they continue to grow, they do so here in Vermont.

Far and away the best offering on the Green Mountain Creamery label is the maple flavored yogurt. Made with real maple syrup, the yogurt is creamy and rich. Leaning slightly more towards a creamline style yogurt than true greek yogurt that’s now all the rage, the consistency is slightly runny, but no so much that it’s a distraction. The maple flavor is excellent. Many Vermont yogurts have a slight tang, so use just a hint of maple. The creaminess of this yogurt lends itself to a stronger maple infusion and its presence is more than welcome. Great on its own, this yogurt is also terrific with granola.

Verdict: For yogurt fans who like a nice dose of maple, this yogurt is for you.

Made in Brattleboro, we purchased these Green Mountain Creamery cups at City Market in Burlington for $1.19. Follow them on Twitter @GrnMtnCreamery.

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Plymouth East Meadow

The current narrative on farming in Vermont speaks to an agricultural renaissance.  Diversified agriculture has taken root for a host of reasons; necessity, demand, and conservation have all played a role in creating the environment for this renaissance.  This diversification has produced a host of new products.  Orchards selling hard cider and baked goods, dairy farms making cheese and yogurt, dozens of new vegetable farmers with CSA sizes to fit any size family or budget.  We’ll let the policy makers and call in shows lay out the framework for what this means for the future of dairy in Vermont while we focus on the incredibly delicious products of these labors.

I’ll cop to the fact that while I knew Calvin Coolidge hailed from Plymouth, I had no idea he was the son of a cheesemaker.  And not until I started surfing the web was I aware that this East Meadow cheese was a granular curd cheese made using the same heritage methods of John Coolidge when he opened his cheese factory late in the 19th Century.  The texture of this was somewhere between firm and soft, comparable to a mozzarella.  It was light and creamy, with a delicate grassy flavor.  I’m glad we tasted this alone because it wouldn’t stand up on a cheese plate next to a really pungent cheese.  One of our tasters referred to this as “comfort cheese,” (raising the image of Liz Lemon and her night cheese) and we thought it appropriate for a picnic with a hunk of bread.

Verdict: Not the first cheese we’ll reach for in the case, but definitely worth a try.  

Made in Plymouth, we grabbed this hunk of cheese from the Shelburne Supermarket.  Learn about Plymouth’s history, cheeses and cows here.

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I’m a big fan of frozen novelties.  It’s far and away my favorite aisle at the grocery store.  For kids, the aisle is enchanting, the chance to peer through the frosty windows searching for the perfect dessert and for what’s new.  The hardest part about the aisle is the overwhelming number of options.  With the increased number of people making ice cream by the pint, making a choice is harder than ever.

This ice cream is a bit of a novelty, perhaps more of a gimmick.  The base is a creamy maple ice cream with actual bits of bacon sprinkled through.  Which sounds great, but the execution here could use some work.  The bacon bits are a bit weak, think of a piece of bacon that’s cooked soft and left to cool.  The bits have a good bacony taste, but I want my ice cream filled with crunchy or hard chunks.  Perhaps candied bacon would work better.

Verdict: Great for a party as a novelty, stick to Island Ice Cream’s other flavors for your everyday dessert. 

Frozen in Grand Isle, we peered through the frosty windows at Hannaford to find this ice cream.  Check out Island’s other flavors here as well as where you can find the ice cream near you. 

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Wilcox’s tag line is “Vermont’s Original Ice Cream,” with a notation that the company was founded in 1928.  Given that many folks probably think of another Vermont ice cream company when they hit the freezer aisle, that feels like an old New England way of taking a swipe at a competitor under the guise of tooting your own horn.  Setting aside the who was here first competition, we were incredibly pleased with both of these ice creams.  The flavors and style are a little more traditional than other manufacturers, who seem to be in an arms race of flashy ingredients.

With the Maple Walnut, the maple ice cream was smooth and creamy, a nutty rich flavor without being decadent.  Mrs. Sapbucket thought this would go really well with an oatmeal cookie.  All of our tasters appreciated that the walnut chunks were on the smaller side.

The Mocha Mud Pie was as advertised, thick with fudgy swirls of a Hershey’s chocolate syrup flavor.  The ice cream had a great malty flavor, reminiscent of a glass of chocolate milk made using Nestle Quick.  It also had a slight Oreo cookie chunk flavor.

Verdict: Both of these ice creams were great, the Maple Walnut is better suited towards a grown up palette, lacking dramatic chunks or swirls.  The Mocha Mud Pie was advertised.  You want mud pie in a ice cream form, you have got it here.

Made in Manchester Center, we bought these at City Market in Burlington for $3.59 a pint.  No online presence for Wilcox to speak of, save for an apparent legal dispute between family members and Yelp reviews that say the roadside stand no longer serves Wilcox Ice Cream.  

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Green Mountain Yogurt

Love a good underdog story?  Well come on in and read about Green Mountain Yogurt.  Seeing this yogurt on the shelves you might be tempted to pass given that the container has a certain arts and crafts quality to it.  The flavor label is taped on the front, the ingredient list is taped on top.  The homemade look is actually what first drew me to the container and I grabbed one raspberry and one peach.

The yogurt is a yellow tinted cream color which gets colored slightly if you choose to stir up the fruit on the bottom.   The makers of Green Mountain Yogurt use true fruit syrup/preserves on the bottom, not jelly, which tastes really authentic. The yogurt is a creamy texture and has a mellow sweet tang.  The raspberries actually taste like fresh raspberries, which was a wonderful surprise given how artificial tasting or jelly like most fruit in yogurts usually is.  The peach didn’t hold up quite as well, it was slightly overwhelmed by the flavorful yogurt so we’d recommend opting for a berry flavored yogurt.

Having enjoyed their yogurt we took to the internet to find more about how it was made.  We came across this cheese making blog which included a post written by Diane Wyatt, who makes Green Mountain Yogurt.  It’s a sweet story of perseverance in the face of regulatory hurdles and shows off Diane’s passion for her work.

Verdict: This is great yogurt and more proof that you shouldn’t judge a Vermont product by it’s packaging.

Made in West Newbury, this yogurt caught our eye at Hunger Mountain Co-Op in Montpelier where we grabbed two cups for $1.59 each.  Read more about Diane’s story here: http://cheesemakinghelp.blogspot.com/2010/12/green-mountain-yogurt.html

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