On Friday, January 20, specialty food industry vets and newcomers gathered for the 2017 Good Food Awards in San Francisco to celebrate responsibly crafted food.

It was a great day for 
Bonne Bouche, a 2017 Good Food Award winner, and a great day for artisan cheese.

Vermont Creamery Co-Founder Allison Hooper spoke on behalf of the cheese producers during the annual awards ceremony. 
Hear her full speech here.
In her words…

Wow! Good Food!

We are thrilled that you picked our Bonne Bouche—this unpretentious little wrinkled puck of a cheese whose alliterative, whimsical French name – literally "Good mouthful” –  suggests haute cuisine. Well, it's just good food.

On behalf of Vermont Creamery, our terrific President Adeline Druart, who is sitting in the balcony with my husband Don, Congratulations to all these impressive awardees. 

By keeping our feet and hooves to the fire, Good Food, you inspire us to over achieve. Thank you!

On behalf of Artisan Cheesemakers across America, I offer you three observations and a story of unexpected consequences.
Here goes:

  1. Gandhi admonishes: "Be the change you envision." 
  2. Nike says: "Just Do It."

I am immensely proud of my American cheesemaking colleagues for seizing an international challenge which is to produce some really great artisanal cheese in this country. Thirty-five years ago, there just wasn't that much good artisanal cheese in the US. Today there is.

Observation number 2: sustainably produced great artisanal cheese relies on four essential ingredients:

I.) Happy, healthy animals—goats, sheep, cows or buffalo – are the only suppliers of our superior cheese milk.

II.) Healthy Soil—abuse its integrity and porosity at your peril.

III.) Creativity—that's an additive we learned from Willy Wonka.

IV.) Collegial relationships—we probably sell more Bonne Bouche by being decent, whole people than from its seductive palatability. These food categories are intensely competitive, yet my most enduring friendships are with my fellow pioneers of cheese. Remember, the problem with the "Rat Race" is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.

Observation #3: you can Do Well by Doing Good, But Doing Well should not be your reason for Doing Good.
The moral of this self-indulgent yarn is: "Don't let the bastards get you down." For you young entrepreneurs out there, don't let the naysayers or curmudgeons deter you from pursuing your dream—however unprecedented your idea may be.

In 1984, at a time when Alice Waters dazzled America with a simple salad of Laura Chenel's goat cheese, my excellent business partner Bob Reese and I launched Vermont Butter & Cheese Company.

We invested $2,400, secured a few 10-gallon cans of goats' milk, and borrowed my hippy husband Don's Milk House.
We had nothing, really. No plan. No market. We HAD grit, and a whole lotta luck!

Thank you.

To find Bonne Bouche in a store near you, click here.