Looking for something local to go with Texas Wine Month?

Texas wine contributes $1 billion annually to our state's economy, and it loves company. 18 Texas cheeses stand proudly among the finest cheeses in America and they're ready companions for October, Texas Wine Month.

10 cow’s milk and 8 goat’s milk cheeses landed awards in 16 different categories at the prestigious annual American Cheese Society (ACS) Competition and Judging. As to medal count, Texas stacks up fifth following Wisconsin, California, Vermont and Quebec.

The judging was part of the ACS annual conference, July 23-26, 2008, in Chicago, IL. 181 producers from 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces entered 1149 cheeses for judging.

Texas cheesemakers include: Cheesy Girl (Sealy), CKC Farms (Blanco), Cou Rouge Cheese (Lubbock), Deborah's Farmstead (Fort Worth), Full Quiver Farm (Kemp), Haute Goat Creamery (Lubbock), La Cuesta Farm (Clifton), Latte Da Dairy (Flower Mound), Moo Cheeses d/b/a Lucky Layla Farms (Garland), Mozzarella Company (Dallas), Pure Luck Grade A Goat Dairy (Dripping Springs), Veldhuizen Family Farm (Dublin) and more. Production from these cheesemakers is very small in terms of the dairy industry, but in fact they are at the forefront in terms of quality and creativity.

They produce an amazing array of artisan cheese, taking up the banner raised by the first lady of Texas cheese, Mozzarella Company’s Paula Lambert.

Texans achieved recognition in diverse categories: Fresh Unripened Cheese: Ricotta Made from Cow’s Milk, Cheddars Wrapped in Cloth/Linen (aged up to 12 months), Blue, Fresh Unripened Hispanic and Portuguese Style, Fresh Unripened Flavor Added Hispanic and Portuguese Style, Ripened Hispanic and Portuguese Style, Pasta Filata Types All Milks, Feta Cheeses Flavor Added, Flavored Cheese Open Category, Smoked Italian Styles, Farmstead Cheese Aged Less than 60 Days All Milks, Fresh Goat Milk Cheeses Flavored with Herbs etc., Fresh Goat Milk Cheeses Flavored with Peppers etc., Cultured Milk Products, Butter, and Washed Rind Cheeses.

5 Texas companies brought awards home: Mozzarella Company (Dallas, TX), 7 awards, including first place for Mexican Marigold Mint Goat Caciotta; Lucky Layla Farms (Garland, TX) 5 awards, including first place for Campesino and for Custard Apple Drinkable Yogurt (marketed as Guanabana Drinkable Yogurt); Haute Goat Creamery (Lubbock, TX) 4 awards; and Latte Da Dairy (Flower Mound, TX) and Pure Luck Grade A Goat Dairy (Dripping Springs, TX) 1 award each.

These Texas cheeses took the honors:
First Place
Campesino - Lucky Layla Farms
Custard Apple (Guanabana) Drinkable Yogurt - Lucky Layla Farms
Mexican Marigold Mint Goat Caciotta - Mozzarella Company

Second Place
Black Olive Petite Bouchée - Haute Goat Creamery
Blueberry Drinkable Yogurt - Lucky Layla Farms
Fresh Feta with Kalamata Olives - Latte Da Dairy
Hopelessly Bleu - Pure Luck Grade A Goat Dairy
Pomme de Chevre - Haute Goat Creamery
Queso Blanco with Chiles & Epazote - Mozzarella Company

Third Place
Boyaca - Lucky Layla Farms
Caciocavallo - Mozzarella Company
Gold Pail Butter - Lucky Layla Farms
Haute Cheddar - Haute Goat Creamery
Herbed Goat Cheese - Mozzarella Company
Jilli - Haute Goat Creamery
Queso Oaxaca - Mozzarella Company
Ricotta - Mozzarella Company
Smoked Scamorza - Mozzarella Company

- Karen Silverston, September 2008