Around the corner from my house in Philly, there’s a wonderful mother-daughter shop that sells Spanish cheeses. Nicole Marcote and her mother Joan Sauvion, of Quince, introduced me to Mahon with quince paste this summer, and today I stopped in for my second round of Caña de Cabra, a soft-ripened goat cheese that I have come to think of as the cheese-lover’s salted nut roll. The rind is firm and tangy, while the center is soft and slightly sweet, like the nougaty filling of my favorite truckstop candybar. Hey, in a pinch, you know.
Earlier this week, I took Nicole’s advice and baked this cheese in a crock, then sprinkled it with toasted pine nuts, drizzled it with honey, and served it alongside some toasted baguette rounds. It’s served this way at Bar Ferdinand, a local tapas bar, and – I squeak inside, as I write this – it was delicious, every sweet-salty lover’s dream. If you eat it with your eyes closed, it tastes like a salted nut roll à la Julia Child.
Caña de Cabra wasn’t listed in Steven Jenkins’ Cheese Primer (horrors!), but Cowgirl Creamery’s Library of Cheese gave me the DL (a thousand bows to those lasses). Caña de Cabra is made in Murcia, an orchard-laden, mountainous region of southeastern Spain. If you’ve ever eaten French Boucheron, you know this style of goat cheese. It looks like it fell off a lumber truck. There is something earthy and mushroomy about it, and it’s so adorable, you’ll want to make felted pillows resembling it.
Please do. And send me one. In return, I will send you a box of salted nut rolls and a beautiful log of Caña de Cabra.
If you live in Philadelphia, stop by Quince Fine Foods, 209 W. Girard Ave., for a cheese-tasting this Thursday, August 20, from 2-4 p.m.