Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Cheese at the Goose: Kaskaskia

New at the Goose is Kaskaskia, a raw sheep's milk from Illinois' Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.

Prairie Fruits is the first farmstead cheesery in Illinois. Since 2004, Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband have been milking their own Nubian goats and making fresh and aged cheeses right on the farm.

Not long ago, the couple partnered with a neighboring Amish sheep farm. Eldin Plank and his family raise East Friesian-Lacon sheep sustainably, naturally, and on pasture almost every day of the year.

Kaskaskia--a name with lots of Illinois roots: college, town, river--is one of the raw sheep's milk cheeses possible because of their partnership. Aged, firm, and slightly crystallized--like true Parmigiano Reggiano--the nutty, sharp cheese adds a kick to any dish its grated over. We like taking home a wedge and breaking off pieces, Parm-style, to munch on between sips from a new bottle in the Goose's cellar. Xiloca Garnacha is spicy with a fresh juicy finish, cutting through the salty, savory cheese but leaving us hankering for another bite.

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