Note: This was first posted on the Texas Cheese Tour website in 2011.
I’m a recent convert. For someone who has spent decades avoiding cheese, I’ve come a long way. Now, I am a cheese-promoter and an enthusiastic consumer. How did that happen?
(Photo: Caprino Royale: Waco, Texas. Cheesemaker, Karen Tippett, knits sweaters for the baby goats)
In 2011, my gourmet-cook husband started making cheese at home and decided to attend the American Cheese Society Conference in Montreal, Canada. The minute I picked him up at the airport, he started talking about all of the classes he attended. A month later, he was still talking. I asked him countless times to please change the subject. That lasted about a day. I finally realized that cheese was going to be a big part of our lives, so I surrendered and decided to learn more about it.
In October 2011, my husband insisted that we attend an event in Dallas to celebrate the American Cheese Society winners from Texas. Paula Lambert hosted the event and although I didn’t know her personally, I had one of her books. He knew that I wasn’t yet a fan of cheese, so he lured me into the car with promises of great wine and dinner at Celebration Restaurant. I packed my video camera with hopes that I might have the opportunity to interview some cheese professionals. Luckily, all of the winners agreed to be interviewed. Keep in mind, this was my first real cheese event and I didn’t even know what questions to ask. (The video is listed on the Videos page titled “American Cheese Society Winners: October 2011 Event in Dallas, Hosted by Paula Lambert Part 1 and Part 2.) http://youtu.be/bdJx_oYKkF0 During my brief introduction to the cheese world, my interest was quickly ignited and I was eager to learn more.
HIT THE ROAD
In 2012-2013, I traveled across the state to find out why and how great cheese is made. Artisan cheesemakers are leaving their mark not just in Texas, but in North America…these folks win awards every year at ACS. Some are famous world-wide. The tour included interviews with chefs, cheese store owners, dairy farmers, restaurant owners, marketing specialists, professional cheesemakers, and one home cheesemaker. You’ll see 26 interviews listed on the Videos page.
During the Texas Cheese Tour, I’ve learned interesting behind-the-scenes details about animals, cheese nutrition, and the cheesemaking process. From chefs and retail specialists, I’ve learned how to approach “out of the ordinary cheeses,” making them more inviting and less intimidating for newbies.
The TCT started out about an inquiry into the cheese world, but I found the stories of the people and animals equally interesting. The cheesemakers I met included an elementary school teacher; veterinarian, attorney, human trafficking agent, accountant, IT professional, and university professor. I asked why they made cheese and how they did it? Their answers are on the Video page. www.texascheesetour.com/videos
I was on a quest to find answers and I was delighted to hear their stories. As you know, Texas is a big state, and it was a long journey, but worth every mile.