The Cheesemonger: Haystack Mountain's Sunlight

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Name: Sunlight
Producer: Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy
Milk: Raw Goat
Age: 60 days
Price: $7.99 for a 1/4lb

For most people who have been around goats, it's easy to see why a lot of the new artisanal cheeses in this country come from goat's milk. Unlike the dull, lumbering cow, goats are smart, friendly and small, and you don't need a lot of land to tend to them. They're like pets, but, although you can technically "milk anything with nipples", goats produce more milk than your cat or Robert DeNiro.

Because of this, it might not seem that odd for a former professor to move to Colorado, buy up a handful of goats and start making cheese. (Then again, it probably is. Read more about their history here.) Although Haystack started out with fresh goat cheeses, Sunlight seems to represent a move into trying harder, aged cheeses; something I'm always delighted to see.

Sunlight's taste is rich and slightly dry with a lovely sweet caramel flavor. It reminds me of the Italian cheese Capra Valtellina, except a bit moister. If you're looking to convert the "I don't like goat's cheese" crowd, you could certainly try Sunlight. Its low goaty flavor and mild saltiness make it a perfect choice to slyly sneak onto a cheese plate.

If you have some quality beef on hand, you could make a wonderful non-traditional carpaccio by using this cheese instead of Parmesan. Shaving it on a salad of bitter greens would also be delicious.

With all of these Italian comparisons, I can't help but suggest a matching wine. A bottle of the Italian white wine Soave would be my first choice. Those in a pinch could easily use Pinot Grigio. Light and semi-dry is what you're looking for here.

Right now, Haystack Mountain's cheeses are carried at a small select group of stores. For those in the New York area, Tuller Food is the only available source at $7.99 for a 1/4 lb of Sunlight. Our California readers can stop by the Cheese Board Collective for a nice selection of Haystack Mountain cheeses (though the Sunlight, specifically, was not available at the time I called them). You can also order it by calling Haystack Farms directly at (720) 494-8714. They do not have it available for ordering online, but would be happy to fill any phone orders.

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