So, a funny thing about Indiana. I always had considered it to be part of the Midwest – after all, it’s due east of Illinois, which is decidedly Midwestern. But when I was in college, my parents moved to Indianapolis, and our accents often prompted the locals to say, “Oh, you’re from up north.” Apparently, Indiana residents view themselves as southerners, and the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival agrees, since pioneering cheesemaker Judy Schad and her Capriole Goat Cheeses will representing the Hoosier State in Nashville next weekend.
And luck would have it that I brought back one of Schad’s cheeses from the ACS conference last month. Upon leaving the Meet the Cheesemaker event, I was chatting with a DiBruno Bros. cheesemonger and a friend of his came by with a container of several Capriole cheeses. He generously offered me a Wabash Cannonball, which I transported back to Minneapolis wrapped in a copy of the Dairy Pipeline. The rind got a little ragged along the way but was no worse for the wear.
Wabash Cannonball is one of Schad’s best-known cheeses, and it won Best of Show at ACS in 1995. A 3-ounce round of ash-coated, goat goodness, the cheese has a geotrichum rind (like many of our Vermont Creamery faves), giving it a wrinkled appearance as it ages. I definitely had an older cheese, since the paste was quite dry and crumbly, and tasted like fresh lemon and hay. A mature Wabash Cannonball is like a drink of sweet lemonade within the dense paste of an aged chevre. It lacks the saltiness of many goat cheeses but still has the requisite aged chevre tang.
The cheese takes to sweet touches quite well – a drizzle of honey, a fig wedge or vanilla syrup. Enjoy with a dessert wine and pretend it’s a lazy, humid afternoon on a wrap-around porch of a southern mansion.