Each month, your Neighboring Food Co-ops feature our region’s artisan cheesemakers by offering a specially selected cheese at great price. Look for the “Cave to Co-op” sign in the cheese section at your local food co-op. To find one near you, visit www.nfca.coop/members.
This month’s special cheese is Strawberry Spritz, Vermont Creamery, Websterville, VT
Strawberry Spritz is a pasteurized goat-milk soft cheese made by Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. Started by two young visionaries, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery cheese-makers are devoted to new and non-traditional agriculture.
As a college student, Allison spent a summer traveling in France. She worked on a small family farm in Brittany, earning room and board while learning how to make all of the essentials of what was to become her life passion: cheesemaking. Bob always thought he would one day take over his grandparents’ dairy farm. Unfortunately by the time he finished his degree in Agriculture, they’d sold the farm.
Appropriately enough the improbable run as long term business partners began in 1984 during a dinner celebrating Vermont agricultural products. Bob was in charge of the dinner and desperately needed a locally made goat cheese for the French chef’s signature lamb dish. He reached out to Allison who was then working at a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield. Allison made the chèvre on the farm, Bob delivered it to the chef — the dinner was a success and Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery was born.
Purchased by Land O’ Lakes in 2017 (a farmer owned co-operative), operates independently and continues to produce its award-winning fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter and fresh dairy at the creamery in Websterville, Vermont. Vermont Creamery has won over 100 national and international awards. In their 37th year of business, Vermont Creamery supports a network of more than 20 family farms, promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. B Corp Certified in 2014, Vermont Creamery is the founder of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, the country’s first demonstration goat dairy.
Strawberry Spritz is a mild and creamy, sweetened with a touch of honey, goat cheese blended with strawberry chunks for a delightful treat that goes well on a dessert tray or try one of these recipes for a special treat.
- 11 ounces mild fresh goat cheese, softened ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups mixed fresh berries
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with granulated sugar, pouring off the excess.
- In a medium bowl, combine the Strawberry Spritz with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, 2 at a time, incorporating them completely before adding the next batch. Beat in the flour at low speed.
- In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until firm but not dry. Beat one-third of the whites into the goat cheese mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 2.5 ounces arugula
- ½ medium red onion, diced 12-oz. cherry tomatoes, halved ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 4 oz. Strawberry Spritz crumbles Dressing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to a jar. Add salt and pepper and cover the jar.
2. Shake all the ingredients together until combined and then set aside.
3. Next, in a small skillet, toast the slivered almonds over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside until cool.
4. Add arugula, red onion, tomatoes, dried cranberries, Strawberry Spritz crumbles, and slivered almonds into a large bowl and toss all of the ingredients together.
5. Finally, drizzle dressing onto the salad, one tablespoon at a time. Continue to add one tablespoon of dressing until the salad is dressed as desired.
- Wonton wrappers, thawed and cut into 4-inch squares
- 1 log of Strawberry Spritz, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoons strawberry jam (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons Milk of choice, to help loosen (if needed)
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Oil for frying
1. Mix all ingredients (except wontons) together until smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of mashed potatoes, so if it’s too thick, add a small drop of milk of your choice to loosen it a bit.
2. Place about 2 teaspoons of mixture into the center of each wonton. Seal the edges with water and set aside.
3. Heat about 2 inches of oil to 340 degrees.
4. Fry the wontons until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
5. You could also air-fry the wontons by spraying each one with a cooking spray of your choice, and air-frying at 325 degrees until light golden brown (about 5 minutes, depending on your air fryer).
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 40 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 www.nfca.coop.