Cheese: Garrotxa (gah-ROHTCH-ah)
Where: Sant Antoni de Vilamajor, Spain
Milk: goat, pasteurized
Shape: 2lb wheels
Flavor: clean, herbal, mildly tangy, a lingering nuttiness
Oh! Such a fine cheese. This is a case where simple, done well, is better. Every time. As I have prattled on about before, goat’s and sheep’s milks consistenly are the source of my (and my wife’s) favorite cheeses. Recently, visiting the St. Paul Cheese Shop an unbroken round of Garrotxa, the blue-suede-moldy beauty from Spain stared back at me from the case. I went a little crazy.
And bought the whole thing.
After all, who wouldn’t want 2lbs of this wonderful cheese? You just have to close your eyes and ears at the cash register. I think I made the staff’s day when I said, “I’ll have the lot.” Besides, especially when, unbroken, it’s such a conversation starter.
“Ew!!!! It’s moldy!”
“Is that a rock?”
“Can I touch it?”
This would be SUCH a hit with kids at an encounter center.
And besides… Garrotxa makes the best cannonball.
Garrotxa was one of many old Spanish originals that fell prey to post-Spanish Civil War politics attempting to save the economy. Fortunately, today many small farmstead artisans have dug up the recipes and have returned to making cheese that would truly have been a national loss had they been forever forgotten.
Eating Garrotxa is sublime in it’s subtle but complex flavor profile. Bright, tangy, a little herbal and slightly nutty. it melts quickly in your mouth. The paste is bright white, darkening towards the rind (which is edible though a bit challenging texturally).
It’s simplicity allows you tp pair it with most anything: Spanish, Chorizo, blackberries, membrillo, other cheese. It’s an easy eater and will confound those who think they don’t like goat cheese.
What to drink with it: Again- it’s easy to pair. Sparklers and dessert whites work well as do any of the range of simpler reds. Old world pinot, Tempranillo, Rioja, Chianti, Barbera… go for it.