Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on the Actual Grill…and Hildene!

Grilled havarti cheese sandwich with tomato and fresh thyme That sandwich up there is a grilled Harvarti cheese and tomato sandwich made on the outside grill. Not fried inside in a pan, not toasted in the oven….that sandwich can proudly call itself an honest to goodness GRILLED cheese sandwich. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before that grilled cheese sandwiches might taste pretty awesome when made on the actual grill, but I finally saw the light, and what a difference! But I will get back to that sandwich later, because what I REALLY want to talk about is the cheese inside of it.Now, a few months ago I got a special delivery of this scrumptious goat cheese being made at a new cheese-making facility up in Manchester, Vermont. It was not even being sold yet – I got a special sneak preview. And man, was it good.

Smooth and creamy and perfect on everything from elaborate pasta dishes to plain old crackers.

I emailed this place to rave about it, and they invited me to come up and have a look at their operation the next time I was in Vermont…which is how I got the behind the scenes tour of the fabulous cheese-making area at the historic Hildene Lincoln Family residence. Hildene has been around for ages and you can tour the beautiful historic home of Robert Todd Lincoln and walk through the gorgeous gardens, but their new cheesemaking facility is brand-new.

Our first stop was inside that beautiful building, which was clean as a whistle and full of these…

That, my friends, is a Nubian goat – floppy ears, brown eyes and totally adorable. And the source of the milk that makes the cheese.

The inside was big and airy with lots of room for the goats to relax and play, and the doors opened up onto big fenced areas on the grounds where they were roaming in and out.

Hi honeybunch! Want to come home with me?

I learned very quickly that the old line about goats being willing to eat anything was actually completely true. While I was taking that picture of the sweet little black and tan goat above, her buddy was eating the hem of my shorts. They will also apparently eat metal chains…

And Silly Bands.

While I was making friends in the big building, the Southern husband took a look in this smaller barn across the path.

Now let me explain the next few pictures (and please forgive the wonky color – there was no, and I mean NO light in there. My Nikon was screaming for mercy). Anyway, there is a series of openings in the back and side walls of this barn, just big enough for the goats to stick their cute little heads in from the outside. I’m guessing it has something to do with feeding them their dinner, because when we went inside, a whole bunch of them immediately popped their heads in the openings.

Don’t they look like they think a snack is on the way? They were especially interested in the teenager. When she was behind me, they looked at her. When she moved to the side, they looked at her.

I swear that they were smiling at us.

I loved their names, too. Cinnamon Bun the Goat.

And I also adored this sign. Goats-Busters!!!

Back in the big building, we took a look at the cheese-making rooms, including this little piece of heaven where the finished cheese is just sitting here waiting for me.

They still have the delicious chevre goat cheese that I remembered from before, and this time they also had a lovely havarti, all packaged up in this adorable wrapping.

By the end, the Southern husband was pondering getting a goat farm of his own. I was still wondering if I could sneak Cinnamon Bun out in my camera bag.

So next time you are in Southern Vermont, stop by beautiful Hildene– tour the house and the gardens, and make sure you stop by and say hello to the friendly goats. And whatever you do, don’t leave without picking up some of their AMAZING cheese.The end. (Except for the recipe).


Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on the Actual Grill…and Hildene!
  • 2 slices bread - any substantial bread will do, but regular sandwich bread will be too soft
  • Sliced havarti cheese
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
  1. Heat grill to medium. Assemble sandwiches by layering cheese, then tomato, then another layer of cheese.
  2. Brush outside of bread with olive oil and grind pepper on top.
  3. Place sandwich on grill and weight down with something heavy (a brick wrapped in foil, a heavy frying pan or one of those big cans of tomatoes will all work!
  4. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Serve at once.


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  1. Joanne says

    Whoa talk about LOCAL cheese! I think it's so honorable when a company is so willing to show you their facilities. That's how you KNOW you've got the good stuff. And also the goats. They are adorable. Do you think I could fit one in my apartment?

  2. Nutmeg Nanny says

    Wow this place looks amazing! First of all I'm loving all the goats…can I have one too :) I love the sandwich too…yum!

  3. Laura says

    This proves everything tastes better on the grill… even cheese! Cutest goats ever… love the "line up" shot… and yes, they are smiling!

  4. Laine Dunham says

    Kate – thank you again for putting what we love to do into such beautiful, evocative words – You are officially an honorary Hildeenie!

  5. PoetessWug says

    You tell the best stories!!! :-) I love cinnamon bun too!!!! I'm glad you didn't sneak her out…I may get to do it if I ever go to Hildene!!! Thanks for sharing this post and telling me about the cheese. I'm going to have to get a little taste!! ^_^

  6. caroliny says

    olá!!que ,imagem,digna de queijos…olhar da vontade,pena que estou no brasil,..como queria um queijinho deste,parabéns!!pela receita!!assim como seu blog,

  7. pinksuedeshoe says

    Oh. My. Gosh. The pics of the goats watching your teenager are probably the cutest thing I've ever seen, maybe ever. Even beats out most pics of my friend's children! I'm making these sandwiches for supper tonight, to go with some leftover tomato basil soup. And when my hubby asks why the grilled cheese for dinner I'll tell him that we are going to buy a goat farm. Thanks for the great post!

  8. tamilyn says

    Look at those faces! I think we could fit at least one on our acre of land!
    And havarti is my favorite cheese for making melty sandwiches. Yum!

  9. ElisabethSpace says

    Oh, Kate, I simply adore the pic with the three goats turning their sweet little heads toward you. Priceless.
    There's nothing in the world like fresh chevre. Makes me want to go out and find some at a market right now. What a great opportunity you had. Thanks for sharing. :)

  10. akgphoto says

    I'm with Kate, grilled cheese and goats (though not together) are on the list of some of my favorite things. I miss my goats. BTW that dark black and tan one is an oberhasli goat. Goats will definitely investigate just about anything, and will try and eat random things. But mine were kinda on the picky side.. though they loved to pull at any loose strings on my jeans, and eat my hair.. Would love to visit a place like this, thanks for sharing

  11. dragonflywoman says

    I just started reading your blog and I am already totally sold on it based solely on your adorable nubian photos. I used to work with a nubian goat farmer in Colorado and I absolutely adored her animals. We used them in a program to teach urban kids about livestock and they had the most wonderful personalities. Your photos remind me of how much I love them! And how much I miss fresh chevre. I'll have to try the sandwiches with the cheese I can get now I guess…

  12. lesliewienswineryadventures says

    Great post! The place is beautiful, the goats adorable and the sandwich sounds yummy!!! Easy to put together too!
    Cheers! Leslie

  13. hollybee says

    awww…. the goats are so cute… but i feel so bad for them:( do u know how milk is even made? i cant look at this without being heartbroken.the factories for milk and dairy seem all friendly buit theyre killers.. but i cant stop eating dairy.. but i try

  14. FramedCooks says

    Hollybee – not to worry, I actually HAVE seen how they handle the goats, and this place is very wonderful…the goats are treated with great care. I'm sure that's not true everywhere, but it is true here, which is one of the reasons I am so happy to spread the word about it.


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