HOW GOOD DOES
Tarentaise is a unique American farmstead cheese which reflects the Terroir of Pomfret Vermont and Thistle Hill Farm. The combination of climate, cows, feed and the traditional unmechanized methods of making Tarentaise result in a cheese which can be most closely associated with the Alpine cheeses of France. Unlike cheeses made solely on stored feed, Tarentaise is denser, softer and richer in its perfumes than its commercial brethren.
Tarentaise is a dense, complex cheese, without the bite of sharpness which can hide the true nature of a cheese. It is smooth, has a subtle nut flavor and a huge presence, while not being too strong. Much of the taste is found in the finish.
This is what some have to say:
As stated by Giles Schnierle, owner of the Great American Cheese Collection:
"There isn't anything like it in this country...The layers keep opening-caramel tones, silky tongue feel, a balanced finish. It has a gracefulness in its flavor profile."
Schnierle (Boston Globe - July 9, 2003)
"It is always exciting to find a high quality unique product produced locally to use in the French and European cuisine that we are known for at Le Meridien Hotel. The Tarentaise cheese that John Putnam produces at Thistle Hill Farm has the creamy and fruity characteristics of a true Beaufort cheese with flavors that linger. To hear John speak of the attention and passion he has in producing this cheese in the farm's authentic copper cauldron and with the meticulous turning during aging assures a consistently great product as good as this regional favorite of France."
"An extraordinary cheese reminiscent of the Alpine cheeses of France. Smooth and subtle, with a firm, even texture, this cheese has enormous depth without being too strong. The flavor is nutty and herbaceous. I use this cheese both for cooking and for the table"
Alexandre Michel Bird
"I highly recommend Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise Vermont Alpine Cheese. The flavor and texture are reminiscent of the finest European Gruyere cheeses. Our new menus feature classical French Onion Soup with melted Tarentaise and it has become an instant hit with my clientele. I always try to use as many local products as possible in my menus and Thistle Hill is as local as we can get."
Jackson, Executive Chef
"In retailing cheese I often wonder why we pay so much attention on the European cheeses. The ignorant answer is that we, Americans, don't make good cheese. The more I hear this, the stronger my desire is to sell them, so the paradigm will shift. Cheese makers like John Putnam have made this process much easier, and consequently filled a niche in the cheese market that has long been overlooked. I am concerned with the tendency of American retailers and consumers to consider subsidized European products over local cheeses. Consumers should consider American cheeses first on the list of responsible consumption. The idea of organic has taken hold very well, the idea of local should be considered with the same urgency."
"This is the best cheese I have had since I was in Italy. It is nice to have a delicious cheese being produced locally by a neighboring family farm here in Vermont which is every bit the equal of the finest cheeses of Europe."