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Side Dishes: Lovin' Lemon Liberté

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Green Mountain fans of Liberté's Méditeranée yogurts can be proud that the Brossard, Québec-based company uses Vermont dairy. The brand's yogurts - in decadent flavors such as "plum and walnut" and "peach and passion fruit" - are stirred up with milk and cream from the St. Albans Creamery Cooperative.

Now, two more flavors are available stateside: coconut and lemon. "Our mission is to offer consumers different exotic flavors," suggests Business Development Director Kevin Foley. "We thought that these flavors, especially the coconut one, weren't found on the U.S. market. Also, in Canada they were doing very well."

Will we soon be spooning up Liberté's other flavors, such as "dulce de leche," "French hazelnut" and "moka"? Time will tell. "Our plan is really to offer more flavors," Foley asserts. "But competition is very fierce on the market in the states. The main difficulty for us is the shelving; stores have limited space."

Show your support by eating up the current offerings. As those Franklin County farmers might say, they're all "wicked good."

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Another Liberté product looks like yogurt but is called "Goat Fresh Cheese." A labeling error? Nope. "A couple of years ago, we launched goat yogurt in the U.S.," Foley explains. But a regulatory change made its sale illegal. "All yogurt sold in the United States must now be made with U.S. Grade A milk," he says. "Goat milk is very scarce in the U.S. So we were not able anymore to carry that yogurt. We had to pull the product off the shelves."

The company's clever solution: Remove one of the cultures, replace it with a cheese-making enzyme, and re-brand it as "fresh cheese."

"There's a huge demand for goat products in the United States," Foley explains.

But the name has been a stumbling block in some stores. A few declined to carry the product in its new format.

Despite its unusual name, the result looks and tastes an awful lot like yogurt. Foley, for one, prefers the new incarnation: "I like it more, personally, because it's a little less tart," he opines.

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