A Sellout Cheese...
To round out what has been an amazing National Goat Cheese month, we're bringing it on home! Goats are stubborn and hearty little beasts, so it's no surprise that they're well suited for our wonderful "seasons" in Central Texas. We're lucky enough in Austin to be surrounded by three amazing, award-winning goats' cheese producers, and we could think of no better way to cap off our celebration this month than by spotlighting three amazing ladies.
Our closest producer and host of our Bubbles, Brunch and Goats events this fall (10/19), Bee Tree Farm in Manor is Jenna Kelly-Landes' labor of love. After years of working in the private sector, Jenna and husband Jeremy purchased their 65-acre farm in 2008 and began making cheese in 2016. Bee Tree produces amazing fresh chevre, an Icelandic-style skyr, and our current feature in our case, a wonderful Halloumi. Bee Tree is the only farmstead producer of this Cypriot classic in Texas, which is the perfect addition on the grill for this season's first tailgate!
Our next goat cheese maker hails from the Hill Country, and she's been making cheese since she was 16! CKC Farms is based in Blanco and run by Chrissy Omo Grundy with help from her younger brothers Kenny and Connor. One of our oldest partners, Chrissy churns out European inspired fresh and delicately aged goats' milk cheeses. One of Chrissy's "Baby" cheeses is the decadently creamy Baby Blue. Inspired by Gorgonzola Dolce, this 6-8 week round is velvety and sweet, with just a tinge of funk that beckons you back for one more bite. Pair this delicate blue with a sweet Sauterne or use it as a base for homemade ice cream is a luxurious late summer treat.
Last but certainly not least is the award-winning Pure Luck Farm and Dairy. If you've been in the shop, chances are you've been handed a delectable spoon of June's Joy, the fresh chevre mixed with honey, smoked black peppercorns, and organically grown thyme. Head Cheesemaker Amelia Sweethardt grew up on what became Texas's first Certified Organic Farm, and preserves the legacy of her mother Sara Sweetser through the care of her goats and her excellence in cheesemaking. This year alone, Amelia and her team took home 3 medals from the prestigious American Cheese Society Awards, including one for the recently revived Ste. Maure. We were hoping to save some of this marshmallowy, tangy ash-ripened log for this week, but we showed it so much love that our first round back in the Cheese Shop sold out in a matter of days. Rest assured, this Loire-Valley-inspired delicacy will be back soon (and it's only available directly from them at farmers' markets or our shop). In the meantime, ask your monger for a bite of Amelia's tangy goat's milk (award-winning) Feta, a scoop of (award-winning) Plain Chevre, or of course, June's Joy. And if you want to see where all the magic happens, join us for one of our farm visits on our Cheese-y Bus Tour!
And this ode to our Texas goat ladies would be lacking if we didn't give a shoutout to Lisa (and Christian) Seger of Blue Heron Farm, who supply our Cajeta or goats' milk caramel sauce, as well as Stacey Roussel of All We Need Farm who makes our goat milk popsicles. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be surrounded by these amazing producers and their lovely and loved-for goats, and by no means will our celebrations of goat's milk cheeses (or popsicles!) stop at the end of what's been an incredible month.
We need you Austin. Vote for us in the Food & Drink Wild Card! And in fact, all your favorite, locally-owned, independent businesses need you. Nominations, awards, and recognitions like these help smaller folks like us stick around and get the word out there. Don't keep your fave place a secret; with today's changing landscape, it might not stick around. From those of us trying to compete against a monopolized Amazon market, we appreciate your vote! (And for the record, we're fine with Amazon. There's a place for us all; we just don't want to be a dying breed if you like visiting us for complimentary samples. Thanks y'all!) VOTE HERE by 9/3; specialty food retailers like us don't have a category, so vote for us in Food & Drink Wild Card. This is the first round
Bolognese for days! Juliet Italian Kitchen in Barton Springs knows where it's at! Check out their towering Lasagna with 17 (count 'em, 17!) layers of fresh pasta, bolognese sauce, and hand-dipped whole-milk Ricotta from Calabro Cheese in Connecticut. Gather the family, order a bottle from Juliet's impressive wine list, and dig in!
Hopefully the heat will dissipate soon, but our events program is just now on fire. Yep, excuse the cheese-y pun. (My kids awoke me 3x last night so blame the lack of sleep; working mom problems - hah!) Truly, we have planned our most fun-filled schedule of tastings, events, bus tours, cruises, farm brunches, and cheese house classes ever. We're a bit anxious and nervous but really more excited. To all of you who said you could never make it into a class, here's your chance! Help us make this season the best yet! Our full schedule through October is listed here, but note these upcoming events and highlights:
Tues 9/3 (6:30-8:30pm) - Cheese 101: The Seven Styles of Cheese
Sat 9/7 (11-1pm) - Prosciutto, Salami, and Cheese...Oh My!
Thu 9/12 (6:30-8:30pm) - Soft Cheeses that Pair with Bubbles (A BYOB class)
Sat 9/14 (10:45-12:45) - First Ever Cheese-y Brunch Boat Cruise on LadyBird Lake
Sun 9/15 (12:30-2:30pm) - Date Day: An Antonelli's Cheese Experience for Two
Sat 10/5 (10-6) - Cheesey Bus Tour to Pure Luck Farm and Infinite Monkey Theorem
In case you missed the announcement last week, know that we have released our fall schedule months in advance - for the first time ever. So for once, you can plan ahead and get in on the action. Always had trouble getting into a sold-out class? Now is your chance! And remember, you can always view all our upcoming public classes or book your own private tasting.
Thurs 9/5 - YOU GRILL GIRL! Austin's first female-focused grilling event. Join us for a casual parking lot party at Franklin BBQ (under the shade of a tent with misters blowing) to enjoy a dozen grilled and smoked dishes by a dozen of Austin's most talented chefs, alongside some of our best baristas, sommeliers, and more. This is a family-friend event (kids free!) benefiting Les Dames d'Escoffier Austin, raising money for women in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. Visit the Facebook event page or jump directly to ticket purchasing. Can't make it? You can support us through an online auction to go live soon and wrap at the event. (Psst! It includes the FIRST EVER, long-awaited Franklin BBQ pit BEFORE it goes on sale this fall.)
Kendall & John
& The Most Amazing, Hardworking, Passionate Team of Good Food Advocates Around...