POPSUGAR Food

Taste Test: Holiday Bites From Vermont Creamery and Whitney's Castleton Crackers

Oct 15 2012 - 4:21am

Can you imagine the holiday season without warming seasonings like vanilla, maple, pumpkin, and cinnamon? We wouldn't want to! It seems like the two are practically interchangeable, which is why we always look forward to sampling seasonal offerings from our favorite food companies. Most recently, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery [1] sent us two new products for the holidays: Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche and Cultured Butter With Sea Salt and Maple. Starting Nov. 1, these dairy goods will be exclusively available at Whole Foods Market. We taste tested the products along with Whitney's Middlebury Maple Castleton Crackers [2] from the artisanal cracker company in Vermont. Find out whether you should splurge on the seasonal flavors or skip them.

Whitney's Middlebury Maple Castleton Crackers

The promise: "This slightly sweet [maple] cracker [3] ($15 for three packs) hints at maple and pairs well with sharp cheddar, brie, or a tangy goat cheese. Some even enjoy Middlebury Maple crackers with yogurt at breakfast or with a bowl of butternut squash soup."

What our tasters thought: The thin, snappy crackers were well accepted by tasters who thought the "amazing texture" and "subtly sweet" maple flavor would "pair well with cheeses like Cypress Grove Midnight Moon [4] or comté."

Whitney's Middlebury Maple Castleton Crackers

What YumSugar thought: These crackers definitely have an artisanal quality that sets them apart from packaged crackers: dense, fibrous from the whole grains, and washed with a maple coating, these crackers almost sway into graham cracker territory.

Overall thoughts: While maple crackers weren't on our radar before this tasting, we certainly will not overlook them in the future for cheese plates and for afternoon munching.

Tasters' rating average:


Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter With Sea Salt and Maple

The promise: "Two iconic Vermont products just got married — Vermont Creamery Sea Salt Crystal Cultured Butter and Pure Vermont Maple Sugar from Butternut Mountain Farms." Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter With Sea Salt and Maple [5] ($5) "highlights the contrast of salty crunch with the sweetness of late harvest maple."

What our tasters thought: Some thought it was too "buttery," and several "expected more maple." Those who enjoyed the maple butter loved it but had no idea what they would "use it for other than toast."

Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter With Sea Salt and Maple

What YumSugar thought: Despite maple's tendency to overpower other flavors, this butter was perfectly balanced. Salty and sweet, the butter stayed true to its rich, buttery roots with a slight smokiness from the maple.

Overall thoughts: It's an artisanal butter worth investing in during Winter months. We imagine melting it over rich, Fall foods like pork chops, sweet potatoes, roasted squash, and pumpkin pancakes.

Tasters' rating average:


Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche

The promise: "Why not add a dose of Madagascar Vanilla [6] ($5) to create a sublime flavor of pure vanilla and tart crème fraîche? Fermentation combined with a subtle sweetness will enhance the dessert, not overtake the main event. Imagine crème brûlée, sauce for chocolate fondant, or holiday topping for pumpkin pie. [It] can be whipped or warmed for a sauce."

What our tasters thought: Tasters likened it to "tangy whipped cream," and one taster thought it was "the most delicious thing ever." One imagined dipping berries into it, while another envisioned a hefty dollop of the sour vanilla creme would complement pancakes or waffles.

Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche

What YumSugar thought: A cross between cream cheese and whipped cream in both flavor and texture, this Madagascar vanilla crème fraîche puts Cool Whip to shame. There are limitless applications for this sour and subtly sweet crème: spread it over pies, use it as filling between layers of cake, or simply dip fresh fruit into the container.

Overall thoughts: Who knew there were sweet versions of crème fraîche? Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche will launch this November, and we're hoping Whole Foods keeps this product around all year.

Tasters' rating average:



Source URL
http://www.yumsugar.com/Maple-Butter-Taste-Test-25386905