Artisan Care Aged Cheeses at Mt. Mansfield Creamery
Stan Biasini is a man of many talents: floor-covering specialist, farmer, trained chef, snowboard instructor and cheesemaker. Stan's cheesemaking journey began during a time when he was unemployed and had taken over the task of making school lunches for his children.
Each morning while his wife, Debora, was in the barn caring for the cows, Stan carefully packaged the cheese he had made the night before for his children's lunches. "You might say that my children started me on the road to cheesemaking," Stan says.
In April 2009 Stan took a two-day cheesemaking course offered by Vermont artisan cheesemaker Peter Dixon. Peter has traveled the world making cheese and setting up creameries. The two men quickly became friends.
"Peter has the cheesemaking knowledge that I wish I could have," Stan says. "I think the world of this man. He is my mentor and still assists me when I have a cheese question."
Debora grew up in Morrisville, Vermont. She is in charge of the farm's small herd of registered Holstein and Brown Swiss cows. Each day Debora milks approximately 30 cows and ships the milk to the St. Albans Cooperative. She has received awards for the high quality of milk that her cows produce.
In the summer Debora uses rotational grazing practices for her animals, and during the long, cold winter months she feeds them grain and hay. The original Mt. Mansfield Creamery opened in Stowe in 1888, in a building that was owned by Debora's family.
The new Mt. Mansfield Creamery was born in 2009. The cheesemaking facility is located in Morrisville, in the old United Farmers Creamery building. The hardworking couple have renovated the structure and built a cheese cave in its basement. On cheesemaking days the milk is transported across the four miles that separate the farm from the creamery and only a small portion of the milk is used for cheese.
Mt. Mansfield Creamery produces a number of raw milk cheeses, using recipes with European origins. The cheeses are aged in the cave for a minimum of 60 days.
The creamery makes small batches of cheese eight to 12 times per month and increases production according to demand. A new Romano- style cheese called Sunrise became available on May 1. Its rind is rubbed with a mix of cocoa and olive oil. This cheese is made with a combination of recipes from cheesemakers Peter Dixon and Margaret Morris, and is aged in the cheese cave for eight months. Sunrise is great for grating in salads and pasta dishes and is primarily available during summer.
Inspiration and Chin Clip cheeses are named after slopes on Mt. Mansfield and Halfpipe after the snowboard ramps. Many of the creamery's cheeses can be found at local markets and organic food stores in Vermont. An agreement has been reached with several distributors, which allows the cheeses to be sold in different areas of New York and Boston as well.
Cheesemaking classes are offered on weekends. These are hands-on classes in a real working creamery and cheese cave. Entry level and advanced classes are available. Stan doesn't want his creamery to get so big that he loses his local artisan flare, and wants to create recipes that he enjoys eating. The proud cheesemaker says he will make cheese for as long as Debora keeps making good milk with her cows. Let's hope that is for a very long time!
MT. MANSFIELD CHEESES
• Inspiration cheese is a Corsican basket tomme that won second place in the Farmstead nonpasteurized cow's milk category at the 2011 American Cheese Society conference. The rind is washed many times with beer from Rock Art Brewery to give it a nutty, earthy flavor. It is a favorite cheese of beer lovers.
• Forerunner cheese is a Danish-recipe, raw-milk Havarti. The cave-aged rind is kept thin, which allows for the full-bodied flavor to shine through. It is delicious on burgers or for fondue.
• Chin Clip is a raw-milk recipe from the mountains in the Austrian Alps and has a smooth and buttery flavor. The rinds of Chin Clip are washed with wine pressings from Boyden Winery.
• Gondolier is an herbed Havarti made with garlic, onion, parsley, celery and chives.
• Hayride is similar to the Chin Clip but has been aged for six months. It is higher in moisture content and goes well with a favorite white wine. Hayride won a silver medal at the 2010 Eastern States Cheese Competition.
• Chapel Lane is a pasteurized-milk, Camembert-style soft cheese with a flavor of rosemary and lavender herbs.
• Halfpipe is a French Alpine raw-milk cheese that is aged for five to six months. It has a hint of salt at the finish and pairs well with Champagne.
• Tres Amigos gets a spicy flavor from sundried tomatoes, garlic and onion. This cheese is only available during summer.