Cabot Creamery is one of the largest cheese producers in Vermont. The Cellars at Jasper Hill is one of the smallest. Together they make an excellent partnership doing what each does very well. Every three months, Cabot produces 60 wheels of cheddar and then sends them to Jasper Hill where they are carefully wrapped and matured in their caves.
Sweet and folksy is this video from Cellars at Jasper Hill. Illustrating their partnership which began back in 2003, when Cabot Creamery asked Jasper Hill Farm to age a special batch of English-style clothbound cheddar. Huh, you say, where’s the wax? Not here, true lovers of cheddar know that real cheddar ages in carefully wrapped layers of cloth as it ages in a cave so that it releases moisture resulting in a more pronounced, deeper taste.
The way the partnership works is that the 40 lb. wheels are about a few days old, they are delivered to the Cellars at Jasper Hill. Here the wheels are bandaged and aged anywhere from 10-14 months until the classic Cabot Clothbound flavor profile is present– sweet, butterscotch, savory, and nutty.
Fun fact from this video: It takes 40 lbs of fresh curd to make a 32 lb. wheel. Talk about flavor!
Jane and Louis Grubb started their farmstead cheese making in 1984 at the family farm in Beechmount, near the old episcopal town of Cashel, in county Tipperary. The dairy farm long produced butter (Irish butter!) and spotted cream Originally experimenting with an old cooper brewer’s vat , Jane eventually settled on a signature blue cheese, as their first cheese, Cashel Blue. This pasteurized cow’s milk blue is a classic. Made from a “closed” herd of Friesian cows it can stand with the other blues such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton yet has it’s on flavor personality. When it is young, (3-4 weeks),it is sweet and delicate with just the slightest tang from salt at the tip of the tongue. Its texture is thick and creamy with a buttery color. Cashel ages well (up to 12 weeks), becoming more creamy and pronounced with earthy tones while remaining balanced. It is sweet and carries a spicy note to its creaminess.
Now, fast forward to 1993, Jane is training Geurt van den Dikkenberg a well versed Gouda maker, on how to make Cashel. Over the hill her nephew has started to raise milking sheep, a rarity in Ireland. A number of circumstances related to these two happenings led to the happy re-interpretation as Crozier Blue, Ireland’s only sheep’s milk blue cheese:
A Crozier (or Crook) refers to the hooked staff either carried by a bishop as of pastoral office or by a shepard. The name Crozier Blue is a play on the fact that Crozier Blue is a sheep’s milk cheese and that it is in Cashel that St. Patrick converted the Irish. In fact, St Patrick’s “crozier” can be seen today in the Rock of Cashel.”
It’s profile carries a lot of taste but is sweet making it very approachable for newcomers to blue cheeses. Crozier carries notes of fresh cream, nuts and hay in the finish.