Cheese of The Week is a weekly feature on The Daily Meal, drawing on the expertise of internationally renowned cheese expert and consultant Raymond Hook. What follows is based on an interview with Hook.
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There aren’t a whole lot of aged goat cheeses on the market, and the reason for that might be the fact that Tumalo Farms has essentially perfected the process. Their flagship Classico is a semi-firm beauty, still retaining that tangy minerality of fresh goat cheese while incorporating flavors of brown butter, roasted nuts, and honeysuckle.
Started in 2004 by WebMD co-founder Flavio DeCastilhos, the company, based in Central Oregon, now makes 12 artisan cheeses, 10 of which are goat cheeses. The Classico is the most renowned, however, and has won eight major awards since 2007.
The cheese begins with goat’s milk, cultures, rennet, and salt. It’s cave-aged for three to six months, is wiped and turned daily, and the end result is a wheel that’s about 10 pounds. The finished product is a cheese that’s not too hard, doesn’t have any of that familiar fresh goat cheese texture, and is supremely delicious.
"There’s enough fresh goat cheese out there, and this one really adds some variety to the mix," Hook told us. "It’s great when grated into pasta, it melts fantastically, and makes just about the greatest grilled cheese of all time. Because it’s not a fresh goat cheese, some flavors have been coaxed out of it that are usually hidden."
Hook recommends pairing it with a Central Oregon chardonnay like Stoller’s 2010 reserve, and matching it up with charcuterie on your cheese board.