Pure Luck Farm and Dairy in Dripping Springs, TX, has been making handmade artisan goat cheeses since 1995, so it was more than just “pure luck” when the dairy’s Basket Molded Chèvre tied for third place best of show in the 2023 American Cheese Society Judging and Competition, making it among the top five tastiest cheeses in the U.S.
Blue can be one of those love-or-hate, one-and-done types of cheeses. But there is an entire world of these cheeses, each with its own combination of sharp, salty, tangy taste and soft, creamy texture. Take Northern Spain’s iconic Cabrales for example. In August, global headlines broadcast a 4.5-pound wheel of this artisan blue sold at auction for $32,000, awarding it a world record for the most expensive cheese. Even if a $6,000 per pound cheese was in your grocery budget, you’d have to travel to Spain’s principality of Asturias to sample this highly perishable product.
Growing up in Cupertino, CA, before Silicon Valley had displaced fruit orchards, Trevor Thomas ate cheddar, mozzarella or Monterey Jack served during family meals. It wasn’t until he began a summer job at a specialty food store with a 45-foot-long cheese case that his eyes were opened to the plethora of cheese varieties throughout the world.
It was back in 2003 when Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband traded in their urban and academic life in Madison, WI and ventured on a