Capriole’s Mont St. Francis Has Risen
Capriole is one of the oldest artisan
American goat cheese producers in the United States. At the helm is Judy Schad,
whose pioneering spirit continues to inspire others to progress within a
now-flourishing industry. Along with only a few others in the country, Capriole
led the movement from commodity to craft.
(Above: Judy Schad and a Tuckhill Farm goat)
Over the years, Judy Schad built her
farmstead operation to include a herd of approximately 500 Alpine breed goats
adjacent to her cheesemaking facility in Greenville, Indiana. In 2012, she
evolved further, and found a partner farm to adopt her goats, and care for the
milking operation, while Capriole focused all efforts on cheesemaking. This
partner, Tuckhill Farm, operated by Tim, Karmen and the Clark family kids, continues
to produce goats’ milk within the high standards upheld by Judy Schad since the
(Above: Tuckhill Farm)
Having the time to focus on more
tinkering, Capriole has been revisiting their classic, Mont St. Francis. Named
after a nearby monastery located in southern Indiana, Mont St. Francis is
Capriole’s ode to the monastic Belgian and French washed rind cheeses, which
continue to gain such a devoted following today.
In recent weeks, Mont St. Francis has been
going through a bit of a renaissance. While this semi-soft cheese is still being produced with pasteurized goats’ milk, the recipe for the wash has
changed. Judy Schad carried out trials with different beers, finally settling
on Lagunitas Imperial Stout, a nearly black brew with flavors of toasted malt,
coffee and bitter hops. The type of beer used to wash isn’t advertised on the
label, but can be a great “insider’s” talking point when discussing the cheese
with customers at the counter.
(Above: Lagunitas Imperial Stout)
What the change equates to is agreeably
the best version of Mont St. Francis we’ve ever tasted. You’ll notice a beefy,
slightly smokey salinity upfront, moving into flavors reminiscent of oatmeal or
a bowl of Malt-O-Meal swigged down with black coffee. The goaty flavor doesn’t
seem as prevalent as in past incarnations of the cheese, but it definitely
lingers in the background. While the flavor is satisfyingly hearty, the texture
is smooth and heavenly, suggesting vanilla custard, which finishes by melting
like butter on the tongue.
Washed rind cheeses can prove to be a bit
of a challenge when it comes to pairing, but a challenge that can be a lot of
fun with which to experiment. Depending on the season, play around with Mont
St. Francis in:
Winter with an Imperial Stout (an obvious
choice); add some hearty bread, mustard and pickles
Spring with a Tempranillo rosé and smoked
Summer with an off-dry Gewürztraminer or spicy
Saison ale and grilled peaches or nectarines
Autumn with a funky red Côtes du Rhône,
red Burgundy (classic French pairing) or Bourbon
Let us know if you find your own match
made in heaven with Mont St. Francis.
(Above: New Beer Washed Mont St. Francis)
We hope you are as excited as we are for
the future of Capriole cheeses. Zuercher is proud to maintain close
relationships with cheesemakers and share news with you, our beloved customers.
Thank you for your continued support, and of your support of small family farms.