Of course, we weren't alone in those dark, pre-goat cheese days. Thirty years ago, few Americans knew anything about this French staple. A woman named Laura Chenel went to France to learn to make cheese from the surplus milk her goats produced, and sold some of her earliest batches to a woman named Alice Waters, who had just started a new restaurant in Berkeley. The relationship put goat cheese into the public consciousness.

These days, each month seems to bring new goat cheeses to our eager tongues. Some show up at farmer's markets, some at excellent cheese shops. We even see Laura Chenel at local grocery stores now.

Photos by Melissa Schneider