The American Cheese Society held its annual competition in Austin this year, and the results are out: Best of Show was a blue cheese from Oregon, Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue. Despite homecourt advantage, Texas barely registered. But things are looking up.
One of the top-ranked Texas cheesemakers, in a competition whose categories ranged from brie to yogurt, was Pure Luck Grade A Goat Dairy in Dripping Springs. Pure Luck has been a winner in past years as well, scoring, for example, for its basket-molded chèvre with Anaheim-chile coating. This year, Pure Luck’s goat feta garnered a third place in its category, but its Hopelessly Bleu took a first in the blue-veined goat slot. Fortunately, Central Market carries it — along with several other Pure Luck offerings.
The initial impression is of a fresh goat cheese’s typical, almost minerally sharpness. But it’s amazing what injections of penicillium roqueforti can do; the blue veining adds depth and earthiness that remain an accent only. True, at $25.99 per pound, the cheese rivals French imports in cost, but think of it this way: Hopelessly Bleu has both an appealing ashen coating and a virtuous low-carbon footprint. Hard to beat that.