When Colleen texted me over this weekend about resurrecting Local Goat Week, my first thought was, “I have at least six cheeses in my fridge, but none are local and goat.” So off to Whole Foods I went, hoping I’d find something interesting. I already wrote about the delicious chevre from Donnay Dairy during our first LGW in 2009, and I wasn’t aware of other goat-cheese producers in the state. Cow’s milk, of course, and sheep’s milk, no problem, but we don’t tend to have as many goat’s-milk cheeses around here. Luckily, Whole Foods didn’t disappoint.
There I found a snowy-white wedge of goat Gouda from Eichtens Cheese, a family-owned dairy operation in Center City, Minn. The Eichtens mostly produce cow’s-milk cheeses, but they recently began making goat cheese using milk from a cooperative farm outside Bemidji. Don’t let the plain exterior of this cheese fool you – beneath that bright white surface lies a full range of zesty flavors and textures. Each bite has the sharp tang of a bloomy-rind goat cheese, but instead of the oozing interior, you get the gentle resistance of a semi-firm paste. Its relative neatness compared to a runny soft-ripened goat cheese make a natural choice for picnics or lunchboxes, but this is no “casual” cheese. Serve it up on a cheeseboard with your fancy imported fromages – the Gouda will hold its own, especially with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.