Capricho de Cabra is from Murcia, the heartland of Spain's goat cheese production. This is a typical fresh goat cheese, like your standard French "chevre," and its texture is creamy, soft, and spreadable, exactly as it should be. Taste-wise, expect a decidedly salty finish, but with an overall clean, milky flavor and a really lovely peppery note. This is the cheese you want for a quick appetizer, drizzled with good olive oil and surrounded with olives, or spread on a baguette with honey or fig jam and a grinding of black pepper. It would be excellent in pasta, egg dishes, salads, or as a garnish on soup. Truly, this is a fresh goat cheese that's so delicious, I'm not inclined to buy anything else for the same application, especially considering its excellent price: $12.99/lb. I did a lot of thinking about why this cheese is so tasty, and after a bit of research, I've come to some conclusions:
- This is a cheese from a cheesemaker who knows what he's doing. He makes numerous cheeses, like the ever-favorite Drunken Goat, or Murcia al Vino, and also Cabra Romero, another of my go-to goat picks.
- Perhaps most significantly, this is a cheese made from the milk of Murcian goats, a breed which produces an inherrently sweeter milk. While many fresh goat cheeses have a kick that's often referred to simply — and appropriately — as "goaty," Capricho de Cabra has a more mild goaty flavor. Pleasantly aromatic, definitely approachable, and unquestionably delicious and versatile.
- The goats that contribute their milk to the cheese graze outdoors, but they're not free-range. Since goats are notorious for getting into trouble when it comes to their diet — they'll eat anything, really, which can have negative impact on the flavor of their milk — controlling their range of grazing ensures a more regulated milk product.
- The cheese is cryovaced. Each two-pound piece comes packaged in an airtight package, which essentially pauses the aging process of the cheese and guarantees freshness. While packaging like this isn't always the best way to store cheeses with rinds — which actually benefit from some air circulation (or "breathing" in cheese-speak) — a fresh, rindless cheese actually prefers this method of packaging.
- There's a relatively quick trip from Spain to distributor to market. Forever Cheese, the cheese's importer, has a high rate of turnaround; nothing stays much more than two weeks in their distribution center. The cheese is shipped by boat, which has a more regulated temperature-controlled shipping vessel than air shipping, as well. All of this means that the cheese will taste fresh and sprightly by the time it gets to you.