Sometimes we pretend to be something we aren’t. Often we do this because we are ashamed of the truth. This is sad. I often find cheese pretending to be something it isn’t, and this makes me sad too. Cheese should be proud of itself, its history. It should brag about its heritage and lineage because cheese is great.
Today’s cheese is a case in point, it’s called “Okanagan Falls” 100% Goat milk cheddar cheese. I found this cheese at an epic deli in Vancouver called Bosa, which I have been shopping at since childhood (go there, thank me later, it rocks.) This “Okanagan Falls” cheese caught my eye while I was there. First, because it was obviously a local BC cheese (the Okanagan is a region of British Columbia, Okanagan Falls, a small village in the interior of the province) and secondly, I had never heard of it. Now, almost 120 cheeses into this blog, I consider myself pretty well-versed in the cheeses of BC and Canada, and this one had completely hidden from me. A local cheese made in a small village in my province! Wowzers. This sort of thing gets me really excited.
Obviously I bought it, and was torn between a number of different cheese options-this “Okanagan Falls” outfit was obviously a well-established fromagerie with a large variety of cheeses for sale…how in the world did I miss this? Feeling chagrined at my lack of local cheese knowledge but determined to learn more, I got home to do my research, but it was just dead-end after dead-end. The website for Okanagan-Falls cheese says “Inspired by the beauty and abundance of the Okanagan valley, the Okanagan Falls family of products are crafted in small batches using all natural ingredients. “ But that’s it. Like totally, that’s it. They don’t say where the cheese is made, who made it, where in Okanagan Falls it’s from, why it’s from Okanagan Falls, if it’s from Okanagan Falls. Nothing.
Interestingly, the registered owner of the company is found at same address as Bosa foods, where I bought the cheese, so I’m making the jump here to guess that Okanagan Falls is a Bosa Foods private label. I just wish this was a little more obvious. I’m guessing this cheese wasn’t actually made anywhere near Okanagan Falls at all…it’s just inspired by it…whatever that means. Who knows where this cheese is made, it could be made in Vancouver somewhere for all I know. I just feel badly that this cheese feels it needs to pretend in order to have some Je ne sais quoi sexiness associated with some small town, although I have seen this same pattern over and over again in cheese. Cheeses claiming to be made in one place, or being associated with some history or maker that doesn’t even exist. If anyone reading this knows any different, please let me know. I would be happy to be proven wrong.
Well, sorry, that’s about all the info I have on this so-called goat’s Cheddar. I don’t know anything other than what the label states: pasteurized goat’s milk. Product of Canada. Contains salt. I have tried one other goat’s cheddar during this blog, that was Chevre Noir, a firm white cheese with a black wax rind, and I adored that cheese. Really, for me it’s hard to go wrong with goat’s cheddar, those are practically my two favorite things in the world. Let’s cast my doubts aside and consider the cheese.
My mysterious Okanagan Falls Goat’s Cheddar is white with no rind. Goat’s milk cheese is always white, goat’s have less carotene in their milk. When I remove it from the package it’s shockingly wet and sticky-this is not what I would call Cheddar. I’m thinking the word “cheddar” here is also being used a little loosely. It’s mild-smelling, really, mild, you need to really sniff to catch the goat. This is a very fresh cheese, not aged. When I cut it, it’s sticking to my fingers and dripping. Strange.
Where’s the goat? Oh…there’s the goat. Mmmmm. Actually, it’s not bad despite all my grumbling. It’s tart and lemony and salty and pretty chilled out, I mean it’s really chilled out. You could pretend there was no goat’s milk in this one and give it to a professed goat’s-milk hater and I don’t know that they would notice the difference. The texture is very soft and wet. This is not a cheddar as far as I’m concerned, it’s more like a pressed chevre. The cheese is a decent cheese, but I just don’t get it. It needs to do some soul-searching and re-invent itself. I’m not buying it as Okanagan Falls Goat Cheddar, but I might buy it as Vancouver East Pressed Chevre-doesn’t that have a better ring? See, the truth shall set you free.