Say “Cheese!”

NEWPORT CITY – For some, there’s nothing better than homemade food. Friday, Allison Hooper, co-founder of Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery of Websterville, VT, prepared dishes using recipes from her book "In a Cheese Maker’s Kitchen" at Newport Natural Foods Marketing Café. The dishes Hooper prepared include Mascarpone and Spanish dip and salad with a special goat cheese called bijou. She used cheeses made by her company. Community members also sampled the cheeses by themselves.The demonstration promoted local products and taught how to cook with cheese. Hooper also enjoyed promoting her company.“These cheeses are kind of specialized, so it’s great to give people an opportunity to taste them before they buy them,” Hooper said. Newport Natural Foods carries many of the cheeses Hooper’s company produces. “This is a way for us to help them sell the cheese.”Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery started at a farm in Brookfield 28 years ago. The company is one of the first in the country to make artisan goat cheese. Hooper said the milk she buys comes from farms in Vermont and Canada.“We make a very specialized handmade cheese,” said Hooper. “They’re all hand ladled, turned and aged. They’re very special.” Some of her company’s products are made from goat milk and others are made from cow milk.Hooper developed some of the recipes in her book. Recipes also came from professional chefs, members of the sales team and others. Goat milk can be easier to digest than cow milk, especially for those who are lactose intolerant. Goat milk cheeses are delicate and, when fresh, have a clean taste, Hooper said.Hooper learned how to make cheese in France.Steve Brault, co-owner of Newport Natural Foods, called Hooper inspirational. Brault said Hooper started a small farm 25 years ago and now is known nationally and internationally. “It’s a treat to have someone with that type of dedication to natural foods right in our neighborhood,” Brault said. “It’s an integral part of what we’re trying to do here and that’s to promote Vermont-made products and natural products.”