Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Happened In Vermont...

        Fleeing Brooklyn's, no-sign-of-fall, fall streets, I recently snuck up to the North East of Vermont in order to drink cider and properly kick through colored leaves with true autumn-ish abandon.  I went to pick pumpkins, apples, to hike through Halloween-bare woods in the craggy mountains.  And I did.  I hiked and chomped on apples and everything was crisp and delicious and just as I'd hoped until something entirely unexpected happened.
        It began here:

        I'll explain.  Close your eyes and picture the food that horrifies and disgusts you, so much, yet so irrationally you rarely admit your aversion.  That thing for which you've perfected excuses why, "No thank you, you wouldn't care for any," at parties or dinners where everyone around you just loves it.  Maybe it's chocolate, peaches, oysters.  For me, it's cheese.
        After a near 24-year stretch of complete and passionately committed aversion, I now so occasionally nibble at it, and only the mildest of what's out there at that, all the while still amazed that I am actually putting cheese into my body.
        Which I hope now paints a new picture of that fated aisle.
        "Let's get some cheese and wine," my travel partner and main squeeze, Russ, proposed as we grazed through a local food grocery in Burlington.
        "Okay," I say.  Just like that.  It is entirely possible I was distracted by how nice he looked in plaid against the New England background.  Whatever the glitch, before I knew it I was cradling three wedges in the crook of my arm while we stood in line to pay.  I was holding cheese.  I was going to spend an afternoon eating cheese.
        Back at the B&B, beside a fire, with a crossword puzzle, some local honey and Vermont-produced apple wine, I sat in that cozy nook and my friends, did I eat cheese.

        I started sensibly; a thick slice of Vermont Ayr, a raw cow's milk cheese produced on Crawford Family Farm.  Milky, smooth and...sweet, I think to myself.  Another slice with honey on top, then another with a piece of apple underneath.  I felt no reason to stop there and, well, I was happily seizing that sense of adventure.
        The next, an alpine cheese, Tarentaise, from Thistle Hill Farm.  Yum yum.  Made from the organic milk of happy grass-fed cows, it was firm with a slightly salty, very  nutty and completely delicious soft flavor.  At this point, an on-looker may have commented that I appeared to have gone wild.  Though I will not admit it, it is said that I ate almost the entire little block right there, right then...
        In between all the munching, we sipped on North River Winery's Northern Spy Dry Apple Wine; to me, a very novice sipper, the wine exploded oaky with strange and surprising olive flavors.  Peculiar and somewhat tasty though not the easiest to drink, I kept on with the cheese.

        The shocking finale, and perhaps especially helpful if you happen to be a cheese newbie and ready to face the great big bleu...spread the news, an amazing discovery.  Our final choice, a blue cleverly named "Gore Dawn Zola," after one of the cheese makers at Green Mountain Blue Cheese Co., I ate, enjoyed and went back for seconds (it's true!) for the surprisingly mild and gently tangy blue striped cheese.

        My stomach ached an hour later. I wondered, without the country air blowing leaves and a too-perfect crackling fireplace and a handsome man in plaid sitting beside me on a dark leather couch, would this ever happen again?
        What happened in Vermont may stay in Vermont, though I did bring a few wedges home, just in case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to let you know.. i'm reading :)

did you take that pic at city market?