In March of this past year (2009), the U.S Cheese Championship Contest was stunned as a cheese maker “newbie” captured one of the most prestigious prizes in his profession with his Classico Gouda-Style Goat Cheese which finished second place in the “Hard Cheese” category. It was the first time an Oregon cheese had finished in the top three in the championship and one of the few times a goat milk cheese had finished that high in the competition.
Flavio DeCastilhos, born in Brazil, left the Silicon Valley fast lane and took his family to Bend, Oregon where he and his wife, Margie, built a state-of-the-art cheese making facility. He dug his aging caves out of the side of a hill on their Tumalo Farms.
At first Flavio and Margie wanted to make sheep milk cheese but had trouble putting together a herd of sheep. They decided to go with goats instead and after only three years of cheese making lands a top award. Flavio traveled to Europe and studied cheese making in the Netherlands.
When The Lady rubbed the surface of this cheese and smelled its warm scent, she was pleased that it lacked that earthy, “goaty” smell she so dislikes. This cheese has some small holes like the ones you find in cow’s milk Gouda and the texture is semi hard similar to Dutch Parrano.
The taste starts out mild and builds on the palate and finishes with a tangy, nutty note that might be compared to hazelnut.
Tumalo Farms makes sever other cheeses in addition to Classico which is an Oregon “classic”.
The Lady liked this cheese okay; but The Man and I liked it quite a lot.
I give Tumalo Farms Classico 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese board this cheese will shine. I would have liked to add some pear preserves to a slice of this cheese. I bet pear preserves would be “gooda” with this cheese. It would also pair well with chutney and a nice slice of char-broiled Castor canadensis
Wine Pairing: Eola Hills 2007 Reserve Lodi “Old Vine” Zinfandel
Beer Pairing: Red Seal Ale
Source: Goat Milk
Awards: 2009 Silver U.S. Cheese Championship