Another Colorado cheese, for American Cheese Month: This bandaged wedge is the Goat Cheddar from Avalanche Cheese Company, in Basalt, CO. A classic British-style cheddar, wrapped in cheesecloth and rubbed down with lard, but with a twist, being made with goat’s milk.
The Avalanche farm is in Paonia, Colorado (about 230 miles west of Denver), with cheesemaking production happening in Basalt. The name comes from the steep — and avalanche-prone — hill on which on which the Mitchell’s live, a common risk in this mountainous region. (Don’t worry, precautions have been taken).
Wendy Mitchell, the owner and head cheesemaker, spent two decades in the restaurant business in Texas, before deciding to try her hand at cheesemaking in 2006. After a year spent living in Edinburgh, Scotland and traveling around the UK working with cheesemakers, Wendy and her husband moved to Colorado and purchased the small farm in Paonia. Cheese production began in 2008. The farm is not yet organic certified but is utilizing organic and sustainable practices while they await approval.
The Goat Cheddar is pale ivory in color, dense, smooth and a bit crumbly, with a little tyrosine crunch. Flavors are milky, tangy and fruity, with subtle goaty and briny notes and a hint of cheddary sharpness. This cheese took home ribbons from the American Cheese Society competitions in 2012 and 2013 (including a blue First Place in ‘13).