Monday, October 20, 2008

For the Love of Goat Yogurt

Cheese lovers, meet goat yogurt.

Goat milk is one of those funny things that has been a bit maligned by the masses over time. People inevitably have some funny remembrance of the first time they tasted goat milk... some hippie relative giving it to them as kids, growing up near a farm that milked some stinky goats and being forced by a parent to take a swig...

Or, take my Italian friend Agusto. For a time before opening the cheese shop, I lived in a small town in Umbria whose population was hovered somewhere around 1,000 people. In the town there was a cadre of old people who were tough as nails and would all help each other out during the harvesting of grapes, olives, you name it. Now, keep in mind that harvesting is at base a pretty arduous and tedious job, and without sufficient banter and shit-giving, folks are likely to get bored. And also keep in mind that in a town that small, everyone knows EVERYTHING about everyone.

One fine October day, Agusto (who is now well into his seventies) was working alongside everyone else, snipping grapes off vines and hauling them by the bucketload to a nearby truck, when somebody yelled out 'goat boy' or some such thing in Italian and set the whole group guffawing. As an outsider, I was mildly confused by this allegation (I lived across the street from Agusto and knew that he had no goats) so I elbowed the person next to me in the ribs and asked what all the goat insults were about. She, being of the same age bracket as Agusto, informed me that when they were kids, Agusto had a twin brother and for want of sufficient milk, Agusto was raised on goats' milk. And so the joke went, from the 1940's on into eternity.

Well let me tell you what. Today I'm here to celebrate the dang milk of the goat, and tell you that whatever anti-goat feelings you may harbor, you have got to try Beltane Farm's superb goat yogurt. Somebody's got to set the record straight, and the does (ie lady goats) of Beltane are up to the challenge.

Beltane Farm Goat Yogurt is of the Greek persuasion, thick and rich and silky, with just the right amount of tang and sourness. Paul Trubey, farmer, yogurt maker, and all around nice guy, has painstakingly perfected his recipe over the past few years and has come up with something the likes of which I've never tasted. After the yogurt has set, Paul strains it through cheesecloth to achieve a more hearty and robust texture. The result is decadent, stick-to-your-spoon yogurt that makes for a fantastic cuppa breakfast or dessert. I'm imagining whipping some up with some maple syrup and serving it alongside a streusel-y apple crisp. Oh how the mind wanders at 8:00 am on a Monday...

So for the love of goat yogurt, get yourself down to the cheese shop to try a lovin' spoonful. You just might have a change of heart (or tastebuds, as it were.)

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