The most exotic of Vermont’s 37 cheesemakers, the Woodstock Water Buffalo Company is home to the only commercial herd of Southeast Asian water buffalo this side of the Atlantic. Get a good look at the beasts and a taste of the nation’s only real-deal buffalo mozzarella by dropping by on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Get your cheese passport punched again just seven miles south of the Canadian border at Green Mountain Blue Cheese. The owner’s French-Canadian roots are echoed in the French-style blue, Gorgonzola, Alpine tomme and washed-rind Muenster cheeses. Go Gallic again an hour south at Shelburne Farms, where a grand stone château looks as if it were stolen from Burgundy. The 1,400-acre estate fields a nonprofit environmental education center and a petting barn, and its handmade Cheddars aren’t half-bad either.
Take a tour of the state’s largest cheese facility, a cooperative owned by about 1,300 different family farms, at Cabot Creamery. The dairy’s packaged cheeses are available everywhere, but its exquisite Vintage Choice, an eighteen-month aged Cheddar, is much harder to find. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the tiny Crowley Cheese operation, making just a few hundred pounds daily. Here you can watch small-batch cheeses made entirely with muscle power, poured, stirred, and cut by hand in a 900-square-foot, one-room “factory.”