Or: There is always a cheese moment around the corner.
My husband and I were on a short getaway in Andalusia (south of Spain). We were driving around in the mountains when he suddenly stopped the car and pointed at a sign. It was a little rusty but the words were clear: Four kilometers (2.5 miles) away was the farm dairy Cortijo Júrtiga. Of course we had to check it out and turned onto a dirt road.
Cool mountain air and silence met us when we stopped. A dog was barking somewhere and a motor was running. We saw several buildings and found the door to the cheese shop.
Julia opened the door. She invited us into the small shop and told us about the family farm where they make goat cheese of unpasteurized milk from their own goats. They produce the Spanish fresh cheese requesón (ricotta style) as well as small round cheeses matured for 60 days. The cheeses mature as they are or with black pepper, paprika, thyme, rosemary or in olive oil.
While we tasted, she explained that the farm had been in the family for many years and they had always had a few goats and produced cheese for their own consumption. Six or seven years ago they started to make cheese to sell and it has grown year by year. She is the one who converts milk to cheese every day at 7 am in the small dairy.
Today the family owns 1400 goats of the local breed Granadino-Murciano, renowned for its milk. They give 1½-2 liters milk pr milking (0.4-0.5 gallons) for 5-6 months a year (in total 500-600 liter per year or 130-160 gallons). In order to have milk all year round they make sure the cycles are parallel.
Every single day two shepherds take the goats out to feed in the area among oaks and olive trees. In the late afternoon they head home for the second milking. The cheeses don’t have an organic label but they might as well…
Cheese and pepper
Of course we bought several cheeses. The combination of the fresh acidic goat cheese and warm pepper is quite interesting.
Do you want to see the farm dairy?
If you are in Andalusia you can find your way to the small diary. Check out how right here.
You can also read more about the dairy here.