Writing about European cheese means writing history—the old world treasures of the great Cheese Cannon have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. Our American cheese tradition is just unfolding, the story being penned right now as tiny and less-tiny creameries pop up all over the place and perfect the difficult craft of making serious cheese.
Nowhere is better to bask in the wealth of handmade USA cheese than in Vermont, a true cheese-lover's paradise. It's the state with the highest number of artisanal cheesemakers per capita: over 40 of them. And many of them are making some decidedly fine cheese. I would suggest trying all artisanal Vermont cheese that you encounter, but to help narrow things down, here are some wonderful ones with which to begin.