It’s a sub-zero December evening in small-town northern Vermont, and the dining room of the Highland Lodge is packed. A side closet overflows with down coats and wet snow boots. In one corner of the dining room, rosy-cheeked people of all ages circle around a fondue pot, while on the other side, revelers in holiday sweaters graze across small mountains of cheese wedges. A shout goes out for everyone to quiet down, and a man with a gray sweater and five o’clock shadow stands up on a chair above the crowd. “2016 was a rough year,” he says, “But I’ve got a feeling 2017 is going to be Jasper Hill’s best year yet.” The crowd smiles and raises their drinks in agreement, before joining in a joyous cheer. They are on board with Mateo Kehler. “Something special is happening here.”
Dallas’ cheese scene came into being on a quiet corner in Deep Ellum 33 years ago when Paula Lambert founded Mozzarella Company. A visit by day to the tiny factory — still on the corner of Elm and Walton — is on the bucket list of every cheese lover or chef who lands here. This is where we’ll begin our first day in Dallas.
Today, Deep Ellum is one of the trendiest places for an after-dark crawl. Pubs, clubs, the chef’s tasting menu at Local, the Taproom at Deep Ellum Brewing Company — there’s something for everyone. The Traveling Man sculptures and music venues ranging from indie to alt, dance, blues and jazz remind us that legendary music permeated these streets a century ago.