Like so many others, Jos Vulto’s trek to the Delaware County Catskills was gradual.
He started coming up from New York City to visit friends in the area and like many weekenders, decided to move Upstate. He and his wife bought a seasonal home in Walton in the late 1990s.
Vulto had been making cheese on a small scale in Brooklyn for several years prior and his cheeses caught the attention of New York City cheese mongers. “I wanted to build a life for myself outside the city, so I thought cheese,” he said.
So, in 2010, construction on Vulto Creamery in Walton began. In 2012, Vulto received his license to start making cheese but, after the death of his wife in late 2012, Miranda, Vulto briefly halted operation. Despite the tragedy, he started producing cheese again the following spring.
Ouleout, named after a creek that runs through nearby Franklin, and Walton Umber were Vulto’s first two cheeses. Ouleout is a washed rind cheese with a semi-soft paste and plenty of funk. “It’s pretty special in its category,” Vulto said.
The Walton Umber is a natural-rind tomme, a traditional Alpine cheese, aged three to six months. The fruity notes of a young Walton Umber turn nutty and richer as the cheese ages.
In the fall and winter, Vulto enjoys eating the soft, pungent Ouleout. And the customers agree. Vulto said it’s his most popular cheese.
The Miranda, named after Vulto’s late wife, is soft, silky and buttery half-pound wheel. It’s washed in Meadow of Love absinthe, made by Walton distillery Delaware Phoenix, twice a week, which adds a delicate, herbal note.
Andes, named after a neighboring town, is aged from six months to a year. It’s firm and packed with grassy, savory flavors.
Vulto’s fifth cheese is Hamden, also named after a neighboring town. All the other cheeses are washed regularly, but not the Hamden. Without the washing, the mold, microbes and bacteria are quick to latch on, creating a furry exterior that looks more like a mossy tree trunk than a cheese. The furry outside is brushed away before it is eaten, but the woody, grassy flavors and earthy crunch surrounding the soft paste remain.
“Not many cheeses are produced in America are like the Hamden,” Vulto said.
It’s only been four years, but Vulto’s cheeses have already gone national. They’re being sold as far away as Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, Vulto said. “It’s been great,” Vulto said, when asked about his commercial success. “Beyond my expectations.”
To sample & purchase Vulto Creamery's cheeses, please join us at The Great Northeast Cheese & Dairy Fest on December 10th! For event details and to purchase tickets, please visit here.