Saturday we went to Stephenville, and on the way back, stopped off at the Veldhuizen Family Farm Cheese Shop outside of Dublin, Tx. Since it is less than an hour's drive from our home, that is within range for a locavore. Check out that belt buckle! And this hubcap was well-earned. Veldhuizen cheese stands with the best from anywhere.
We chatted with Connie Veldhuizen (and Paul had a great visit with her father-in-law Mr Velduizen), and bought half a pound each of their Mozarella String Cheese, Texas Gold Cheddar, and Redneck Cheddar.
We also bought a gallon of fresh, raw, whole milk (which they can only sell at the farm, not offsite). Not homogenized or pasturized. In the photo, notice where the color changes about a third of the way down from the top in the gallon? Click on it to make it larger if you need to.
Everything above that is cream. Pure, sweet, rich, cream.
Paul had never tasted raw milk, and I had not since I was a very small child. It is very good. Sweet and rich. The flavor will probably change with the seasons, as it is affected by the cows' food.
I am not opposed to Pasturization because in situations where milk from different herds is mixed, pasturization protects our health. But we also don't want anything added to out milk and cream - and that happens more often than not in commercial milk, even with "good" brands. Most have additives and thickeners in their half and half and cream: no, thank you. We've found only a couple of brands of half and half available locally that read "Ingredients: milk and cream." One of those brands is Kroger's in-house brand, that is what we buy.
So, we enjoyed a chance to have milk fresh from the farm, where we could see "the pretty cows all red and white" that gave it.
Back to the important part: the Cheese. The cheese is so lovely, so rich and flavorful. While it costs more than the generic cheddar in the store, we've found that a little of it goes a long way so not as much is needed.
For instance, I used the Texas Gold Cheddar on these breakfast tacos: a sprinkle under the eggs and another sprinkle on top before rolling them up. This is about 1/3 the amount of cheese I would normally use on Paul's tacos, but because this actually has flavor, a sprinkle was perfect. The tomatoes came from our neighbor's garden, and the eggs we buy from my coworker. Yum. Yes, I know, I should have made the tortillas from scratch. I make good ones, but....
The Redneck Cheddar has a dark boch beer added in the manufacture. It's a medium sharp cheese that we used, with Kroger's English Toasting Bread, and what Dad used to call "mantequilla bueno" (real butter) to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Phenomenal. Again, only a singe layer of thin slices was all it took, so here we probably used only half as much cheese by weight as we would of store-bought cheddar.
I can't remember the name of it, but they had another cheese that is most like a traditional English Cheddar (which i got to try on a business trip once). It's rich and creamy - Connie said it stays more moist than most cheddars as they age because they slather the outside of it with lard
during aging! As Emeril would say "Pork Fat Rules!"
Veldhuizen cheeses are carried by small markets around Texas, and they also have mail order available from their website.
When Christmas comes around, you can bet we'll be trying their gruyere for the French Onion Soup! :-D