Posts Tagged ‘Castleton’

alehousecheddarProduct Information:

Castleton Crackers of Vermont never ceases to amaze us with their delicious new crackers. The latest out of Vermont is their Alehouse Cheddar made with local craft ale, cheddar cheese and very mild horseradish mustard. All natural, and hand-made in Vermont.

I received a full sized box of these crackers in my November Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose a mild white tea go to with these crackers.  I wanted something mild because I didn’t want anything to interfere with some of the more nuanced flavors of the cracker and I wanted something cooling to soften the effect of the horseradish mustard.  The horseradish is mild, as the description above states, but, it does build a little bit and the white tea helped to cleanse the palate in between crackers.  I chose this China Mutan White Tea from Mark T. Wendell – and the crackers and tea made for a lovely tea time!

What I Think:

I’ve tried a few different Castleton Crackers since I’ve started this blog.  The first package that I tried were the Windham Wheat crackers, and then I tried the Rutland Rye and the Sesame Graham crackers.  Now we have the Alehouse Cheddar Crackers and these are reaffirming for me why I love this company’s crackers so much.

Not only are they a handcrafted cracker that are made in small batches and obviously broken by hand rather than crafted in an assembly line in a factory somewhere, but the flavor of these crackers just cannot be beat!  You just can’t get this kind of taste in a commercially manufactured cracker.  The crackers not only look like they were made in someone’s home kitchen, but they taste like it too!  You can taste the love in them.

As much as I loved the salty and sweet contrasts of the aforementioned Graham Crackers that I tried most recently from this company, I think that these Alehouse Cheddar might be my new favorite.  It’s surprising to me, really, because I’m not a big fan of alcohol, as I’ve mentioned before, but, I love the way the flavors are represented in these crackers.

I taste the cheddar, but it doesn’t hit me over the head with cheesy flavor.  I taste notes of the ale, but the most intriguing note that captures my interest is the horseradish.  It’s not an overwhelming flavor … it’s in balance with the other notes in the cracker.  But, it is a flavor that builds and after I’ve eaten a couple of crackers my mouth is pleasantly warm and I can feel that enjoyable “burn” in the top of my throat and even that hint of a sting near my eyes and nasal passages that one gets from horseradish.  I love horseradish, so these notes were certainly a welcome surprise to this cracker.  I like that it starts out subtle but the heat builds.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these crackers.  Then again, I’ve really enjoyed all the different crackers I’ve tried from this company … but I think that the unique layers of flavor in this cracker might just make it my favorite!  They have the cheese, they’ve got some ale flavor, and some horseradish mustard … all that you need is a cup of tea!

CastletonGraham

Photo from Knoshbox.
Click on the Pic to go there.

Product Information:

Castleton Crackers does it again! These all natural, hand made crackers are unlike any graham you’ve had before; toasted sesame seeds are baked in to create a unique, nutty flavor that will tempt you to devour the entire box.

I received a box of these crackers in my July Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I’ve been on a bit of a chai kick lately … probably because the cooler weather of autumn inspires it!  When I enjoyed these crackers as is … I chose to prepare a chai latte using this Star Anise Masala Chai from Blue Lotus Chai.  I loved the way the spicy chai contrasted with the salty sweet crackers.  When I ate these crackers as S’mores, I went with something more basic, like this Lapsang Souchong from the English Tea Store.  This was a perfect pairing, because the smokiness of the Lapsang gave the gourmet S’more made with the roaring heat of the broiler in my oven a bit of that campfire authenticity.  Yum!

What I Think:

These are crazy good!  They have the naturally sweet taste of a graham cracker, with a savory salty note and nutty sesame seeds.

They are crunchy and tasty … and they satisfy not only that hunger that tends to have one grabbing for cracker snacks, but they also satisfy one’s craving for both salty and sweet.  These are really unlike any graham cracker I’ve ever tried.  I like that they’re not too salty – just a delicate sprinkling of salt to these.  And they’re not too sweet – the salt cuts through some of the sweetness to bring balance and deliver a not-too-sweet sort of snack.

I’ve sampled these a couple of different ways.  First, I tried them right out of the package with a cup of tea.  They were very good that way.  Then I tried them with some cheese spread.  The saltiness of the cheese brought out the more savory qualities of the cracker but did not completely overpower the sweeter side of the graham.  This made for a very unique and tasty experience.

Finally, I decided to get out the Elephant Ear Marshmallows from 240Sweet that was also included in this box, and I roasted the marshmallows atop some chocolate which I placed on a couple of the larger crackers in the box for a unique twist on s’mores.  Yummy!  Using these crackers as the base of s’mores (especially when a sugary marshmallow like the Elephant Ear Marshmallows are used) is when I really got to appreciate the salty notes of the cracker … It was a salty sweet TREAT!

I also tried these with some Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. and it was out of this world good.  (My review for this chocolate peanut butter will be posted tomorrow!)  Again, I liked the way the salty and sweet interacted here.

My Final Thoughts:

However you choose to serve these … these crackers are really good.  The best graham crackers I’ve ever tasted.  I was reading the box and noticed that they also have lemon ginger flavored graham crackers … those sound insanely good, too!  I think I’m going to have to try those at some point!  Maybe Knoshbox will be good to me and have a lemon themed box someday … and include these as part of that box.  Hey … Knoshbox, are you listening?

Picture from Knoshbox. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:
Whitney Lamy of Castleton, Vermont bakes some of the finest New England crackers you can find for wine & cheese pairing. Her crackers are all natural, hand-made, and hand-cracked.

The Windham Wheat crackers are light, buttery and slightly salty which pair beautifully with a Vermont Jasper Hill Cheddar and oaked Chardonnay. This particular cheese has nutty, lightly caramel flavors that work so well with the toasty, buttery oak notes of the Chardonnay- while the cracker backs it all up with a salty crunch.

I received these crackers in my September Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

Knoshbox suggests pairing these crackers with a Chardonnay, but I don’t drink wine very often.  Instead, I chose to pair these crackers with this Oolong Chardonnay from Vintage TeaWorks.  The smooth, softly buttery taste of the tea was a perfect match for the buttery, nutty taste of the crackers.

What I Think: 

Oh, my!  I think I may have just discovered a new favorite cracker.  I tried these ever so briefly while enjoying the Chorizo Rioja which was also featured in the September Knoshbox, but now as I sit here with a cup of tea and eat these without cheese or meat adornment, I am truly able to appreciate the complexity of the cracker.

I love that these are broken by hand, rather than by machine.  You get a sense of the love and dedication that goes in to these crackers.  They are super thin, like wheat thins … but they taste so much better than wheat thins.  And even though they are thin, they are really satisfying.  With each bite I can taste the wholesome wheat.  And, then there is a buttery taste to these too, and just a hint of salt.

Really delicious!

My Final Thoughts:

Somehow, these crackers seem a bit more like bread to me, in that they don’t taste ‘wimpy’ the way some crackers do.  Some crackers are mere snacks … these crackers are substantial enough to serve along with a meal like a hearty stew or chili.  I really like these crackers a lot.