Flavors of Spring
Spring has sprung! Officially, the spring season began on March 20. I'm always hesitant this time of year whether to plant my pots - or hold out for that last freeze. Alas, I'm going to live on the wild side, get my hands in some dirt, and get to gardening this weekend. Like many of you I'm sure, I've been on the go non-stop the last couple of weeks. It's been so disorienting that last week, I wrote a check (yes, I still do that) and wrote 2013 in the date line. 2013! Things are feeling a bit fast-paced, so I'm intentionally working on getting grounded this week. This is the time of the year that I revel in the smells and sights of the Texas Mountain Laurels, those big beautiful plump purple flowering trees. I also love getting home from a day of work and just laying in my yard, feeling the heat of the sun on my face but simultaneously the cool ground below me. It won't last for long. What do you do to intentionally soak up the spring? Here's wishing you the ability to fully experience our short-lived Texas springs.
Local (Goat) Cheeses of Spring
This is the time of the year to grab your fresh goat milk cheeses! They signal rebirth and renewal, especially for those mama goats who have been dry (ie not milking) these past months as they spent their energy in their final pregnancy months. And now, babies are here! And that brings fresh, early spring milk. I told you a couple weeks ago about the return of Pure Luck Farm & Dairy's June's Joy into the shop - a fresh chevre or goat milk cheese seasoned with honey, thyme, and black pepper. This is hands-down, one of our most popular cheeses. Right now, we're pairing it with the recently-released Grafter Blanc from Texas Keeper Cider. The Grafter series is about crafting unique ciders from heirloom apples and vintage wine grapes. This year, Grafter Blanc is made from blending small lots of Northern Spy, Empire, and Rome Beauty apples with Texas-grown Muscat Blanc - resulting in notes of candied pear and orange blossom with a light effervescence.
This week, I'm excited to announce that we have Halloumi from Bee Tree Farm back in the case after it's many-month absence (pictured here). This cheese makes it's return right as prime grilling season starts back up. Whether you throw it on the grill or in a skillet, expect it to turn golden brown and be a perfect appetizer (drizzled with olive oil) or make it your main meal alongside grilled veggies. While I personally and generally don't recommend goat milk cheeses with red wines because of potential conflicting flavor profiles, this is one of those exceptions. Try the grilled Halloumi with a slightly-chilled glass of William Chris 2016 Lost Draw Mourvedre, a single-varietal red wine made from grapes grown in the Texas High Plains but inspired by the Rhone Valley French wine. This is a fantastic taste of Texas terroir from a local winemaker.
Lastly, we received an exceptional batch of Baby Caprino from CKC Farms. This hockey-puck shaped cheese is dusted in ash before developing its gorgeous, white mold rind. It's a refreshingly clean and vibrant bite of acid; try pairing it with the spring release of Dandy Rose from local winemaker Rae Wilson using all Texas grapes. Don't think you like Texas wine? We dare you to try this one. And Rae is racking up impressive stats left and right, so get it on it now. This wine is super limited and will sell out quickly for the season!
These female cheesemakers from Dripping Springs (Amelia Sweethardt), Manor (Jenna Kelly-Landes), and Blanco (Chrissy Omo), respectively, are the reason we have amazing, delicious, local goat milk cheeses here in Austin. We - and they - love your support. So come taste and try them out; Tis the season!
Upcoming Tastings & Classes
If you're disappointed that you're missing our Cheese-y Bus Tour this weekend when we visit a goat farm for cuddles and a tasting, visit a distillery for a tour and a tasting, and have lots of tastings on the bus, then fear not. We're halfway sold out of our 4/27 Cheesey Bus Tour to Pure Luck Farm and Vista Brewing. So there's still time to get in on the fun.
4/11 (6:30-8:30pm) - Fondue Night: Cheese & Chocolate courses
We've got a lot more April events after that. Hope you'll join us! Check out our full schedule here. Don't forget that we'd love to host your group for a private tasting! From team to client appreciations, from birthdays to bachelorettes to baby showers, we've been honored that so many folks have made memories with us over great cheese. Inquire here!
AIBA Armadillo Awards - One of the best ways you can support your favorite locally-owned businesses? Help give them all the shout-outs and press mentions possible by VOTING for them when various opportunities arise. Thank you for nominating us for an Armadillo Award; now we're a finalist and it's time to vote. Vote here until 4/5 for us in the Community Champion and Customer Experience categories. You can also RSVP here to attend the (free) party on 4/25 at the Scottish Rite Theatre to be surrounded by your fave local entrepreneurs and a celebration of all that is uniquely Austin.
Vote Now! (please and thank you!)
Other Fun Events
Sun 3/31 (5-7:30pm ) - Cochon 555 Austin
At Four Seasons Hotel
Five chefs, five (different breed) pigs, five winemakers... plus a Veggie Bar, a Cheese Bar from yours truly, a Dessert Bar and a lot more. This is a fun and epic night of indulgence, all for a good cause. Created in 2008 in response to the lack of education around heritage breed pigs, Cochon555 is a nose-to-tail culinary event dedicated to supporting family farmers and educating buyers about the agricultural importance of eating heritage breed pigs, some of which are on critical watch lists: "We are educating the nation one bite at a time and creating a safer food future to be shared with our children. Your support benefits our foundation project, Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kickstarter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster." Tickets are on sale here through 3/31.
Join Edible Austin on an Eat Drink Local journey through Texas wines and the full process from vine to bottle, guided by Sommelier/Winemaker Rae Wilson from Wine For the People. Sip and savor a line-up of her locally grown and produced productions, The Grower Project and Dandy Rosé as we discuss the growing schedule, winemaking process and behind-the-scenes life of the wines and their vineyards. Pink Avocado will be providing local and seasonal lite bites designed to pair with the wines. Ticket details here.
LIVE FIRE! is a beef-centric live-fire cooking event featuring the best sizzling proteins and cooking craftsmanship along with wine, beer, and spirits tastings - all in a perfect setting with live music and for a good cause raising money for culinary grants in the Central Texas community. Hosted by our fave Austin Food & Wine Alliance. Get more information and ticket purchasing info here.
Stay Cheese-y Austin,
Kendall & John
& The Most Amazing, Hardworking, Passionate Team of Good Food Advocates Around... (We are grateful for you team!)