Taking a cue from Vermont’s Artisanal Cheesemakers
Living in Vermont, one comes to expect a lot from our states’ wonderful artisanal cheeses and wonder why one should not expect the same from a jar of preserves? Cheese-making is an all-consuming passion of Vermont’s celebrated cheesemakers, with a focus on both the quality of ingredients and the exact techniques required to make a perfect wheel of cheddar. We believe the same approach should be applied to every variety of chutney, jam and marmalade that comes from the Kitchen at Blake Hill.
We think it very important to know the “terroir” of our fruit, the most critical ingredient in our preserves. Nothing beats the flavor of the season’s freshest strawberries, grown in the fields of one of the greenest and least populated states in the US, picked when perfectly ripe, and made into a fresh jar of jam within 24 hours of harvest. Vermont’s top cheesemakers would never dream of adding anything but the freshest, top quality milk in their cheese. Why then should standards in the preserve-making world be any different unless the first priority is to make a product as inexpensively as possible irrespective of the impact to the taste of the final product?
At Blake Hill, like Vermont’s top cheesemakers, we are also completely obsessed with cooking techniques. We are third generation English preserve makers, taught traditional preserve-making skills by our award-winning grandmother, however we are constantly tweaking our techniques to create the most flavorful and richly textured chutneys, jams and marmalades possible. We believe our expertise, the quality of our ingredients, and a simple commitment to attentive cooking is all that should be required to make a perfect preserve, rather than resort to the use of additives such as, citric acid, artificial colorings, preservatives or other natural but incongruous ingredients found in so many other producers’ products nowadays.
Our unique cooking processes also require a lot more fruit than the typical chutney, jam or marmalade to make a jar, but we believe this is also a good thing in our search to capture the biggest and best fruit flavors for our customers. Depending on the Blake Hill preserve variety, it takes around 7 ounces of top quality fruit to make every 10 oz jar of preserves! It therefore costs us a little more, however – just like a great artisanal cheese - we believe the rich & unique flavors helps create a truly distinctive preserve and the investment is therefore worth it.
We are also committed to non-GMO ingredients and look forward to being certified as such very soon too.
And as for new varieties? We have some exciting unique recipes we look forward to bringing you this year – just like our beloved cheesemakers!
So next time you invest in a special hunk of your favorite artisanal cheese, take a moment to consider if you are pairing it with something equally wholesome and delicious that will truly do it justice.