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…
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!!!
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).