When I was at Eataly last month making some very difficult choices on which cheeses to bring home with me, head cheesemonger Greg Blais asked, “Psst, you want to try something really special?” Well, of course! He handed me a slice of a raw-milk, firm goat’s-milk cheese and told me it would put the other cheeses I had sampled to shame. There’s a reason why you should always ask your cheesemonger what is good in the case that day – because they know their cheese, people. What Greg handed me was one of the most spectacular, unusual, tongue-tingling cheeses I’ve ever tasted. What he gave me was Koby.
There are a lot of things I don’t know about Koby – who makes it, exactly where it’s made (Greg said California, but nothing else), which breed of goats supply the milk, where you can buy it (besides Eataly). This is truly a mystery cheese, and one I will savor since I don’t know when or where my next fix will come. It has the saltiness of a good Parmigiano but without the crystals, the texture of a young farmhouse cheddar and a complex mix of grassy and nutty tones. The thin orange rind is completely edible, but the flavor is all in the paste, which builds with each bite. Perhaps the closet cousin-cheese I’ve tasted is Riley’s Coat from Vermont’s Blue Ledge Farm, but it lacks that cheese’s crumbliness and pocked interior.
If I weren’t saving every shard for snacking, I’d be grating Koby over everything – fresh tomatoes with olive oil, fried eggs, avocados (or all three together!). Instead, I am slowly slicing wedges and rationing every bite. Greg, if you’re reading and have any more Koby intelligence to share, please do! But we’ll understand if you want to keep your source close to the vest.