If your idea of cheese is a package wrapped in gold foil from your local supermarket, you owe it to yourself to enjoy some artisanal cheese some time soon. The term artisanal means cheese that has been made by hand, not in a factory. The difference between artisanal cheeses and mass produced cheeses is the same as the difference between home-made cookies and Chips Ahoy. (Not that Chips Ahoy cookies aren’t great.) If you live in Houston, Texas, you are lucky enough to be near some of the best handmade cheese in the nation. In addition to artisanal cheese, you should also sample some farmstead cheese. Farmstead cheese is made by artisanal cheesemakers who also raise their own animals (cows, sheep, goats) to produce their cheese. This article will provide you with a guide to finding and sampling some of the best artisanal and farmstead cheeses in Texas.
Hand making cheese is not easy. The cow (or sheep, or goat) needs to be milked, then the milk mixed with other ingredients, formed into wheels, salted, turned, washed, brushed, dried, etc. The result, however, is a cheese lover’s heaven.
The Mozzarella Company
This is a tiny cheese making company in Dallas, Texas, where mozzarella cheese is made fresh by hand every day. Looking for mozzarella, ricotta, fresh goat feta? They have it and more. These handcrafted, award-winning artisanal cheeses are available at restaurants and gourmet shops throughout Dallas, Texas. Click here for more information on this Texas artisanal cheesemaker or to order their cheese.
The Veldhuizen Family Farm
A small family farm in Dublin, Texas, here you will find a herd of Holstein-Jersey cows providing the milk for these cheesemakers. The Veldhuizen family has been in the dairy industry for generations, and they are committed to raw milk cheesemaking. If you come for a visit to this Texas farm, you can see their cheesemaking facility through a glass wall of the cheese shop. Their cheeses are stored in an aging cave! Craving Paragon, Caraway, Jalapeno Cheddar? They’ve got it and more. To learn more about these Texas artisanal cheesemakers or to purchase their cheeses, click here.
Brazos Valley Cheese Company
All of the cheeses made at this Texas cheesemaker’s facility are made by hand. They use raw cow’s milk from their own herd or purchased from two nearby Texas dairies. The cows have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics, and their Texas cheeses do not have any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. These cheesemakers are part of the Brazos de Dios Community, a group of over a thousand people practicing traditional farming and crafts on 500 acres along the Brazos River. Among the many varieties of artisanal cheese they create are Gouda, Havarti, and Brie. Purchase their cheese at various stores and markets in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston, or contact them here.
Pure Luck Dairy
Located in Dripping Springs, Texas, this farm and dairy has a herd of over 100 goats and over five acres of certified (by the Texas Department of Agriculture) organic farm land. They have received numerous awards from the American Cheese Society for their outstanding artisanal cheeses. Among their incredible artisanal cheeses you will find Chevre, Feta and more. To learn more about these Texas artisanal cheeses or to purchase, click here.
While not cheesemakers themselves, this company has an exceptional website for you to order your cheese from, or you can visit them at their warehouse, or at certain farmer’s markets to purchase. Cheeses will be cut fresh and wrapped for you, and all of their cheeses are available for tasting. The warehouse, located on Airline Drive in Houston, Texas, is open on Fridays from 3:00 to 6:30. Look for them at Rice University’s Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays from 3:00 to 7:00, at Midtown Farmer’s Market on Travis on Saturdays from 8:00 to noon, and at Highland Village Farmer’s Market on Westheimer on Saturdays from 9:00 to 1:00. To learn more about the Houston Dairymaids or to purchase their cheese, click here.