We've been coveting the super-fresh goat's milk cheese from La Cuesta Farm in Clifton since we started our little biz back in October. They were one of our first cheesemaker visits, and sweetly apologized for not only not having cheese to sell us (they sell locally and are perfectly content with their size), but also for choosing not to ship due to bad past experiences. It's imperative to understand that the loss of artisanal cheeses carry more value than the dollar that's placed on them. Cheesemakers, like John and Alberto of La Cuesta Farms, cringe at the thought of their cheeses going to waste, as do we. It's one thing for a large supermaket to buy your cheese, and then an entirely different animal to find that it's sitting on the shelves wasting or, even worse, as in the case of La Cuesta, to find that it's sitting on the loading dock at the wrong time, melting in the summer sun. It didn't take long for us to understand La Cuesta's trepidation to selling us cheese way out in Houston. But, we can be a bit relentless when it comes to getting good cheese here in H-town. Not just for our customers, sorry to say, but for ourselves!! Heaven forbid I should be left with our box of samples for one minute. When La Cuesta agreed to sell to us recently, needless to say, we were ecstatic. I haven't been able to get the bright, almost champagne-like flavor of their kefir out of my mouth since last October.
John, an ex-architect, works closely with the goats, all named and doted upon appropriately. "Come on ladies," he says to the herd as I get them to pose for a picture. Alberto makes the cheese, and I finally got to meet him last week. This time, they were ready and willing to provide us with a case of their much-coveted (for us at least) plain chevre and original Suave, an unsalted feta ready to crumble over any drab salad in need of a boost. Although my visit was short, had to make it on to two other cheesemakers afterwards, I got a taste of their chocolate and goat cheese torte that's in the works. John's been working with a local chef to perfect the recipe, and I can't wait--layers of their plain chevre, chocolate mousse, and a soft chocolate ganache over top. Although we've been trying to get John and Alberto to ship to us, I can't help but sympathize with their shipping mishaps. I would love to make the trip out to Clifton each week to gather cheese for Houstonians and, of course, say hello to the ladies.