Capricho de Cabra with Herbs.

Capricho de Cabra with Herbs.

Capricho de Cabra, a Spanish phrase roughly translated to “whim of the goat” or “goat whim”, is similarly the name of a fresh Goat Cheese. More accurately, it is a rindless, soft cheese or Spanish Cabra (Chèvre in France) which has more to offer than meets the eye. Any goat with a “whim” for you to eat this cheese has your best interest at heart…and he/she should be generously thanked… with treats and copious amounts of petting. Feed and dote on said goat as you drive them to the nearest Whole Foods Market and purchase this cheese (which it so badly wants you to have) for $16.99/lb.

Capricho de Cabra sign and packaging

Capricho de Cabra sign and packaging

**In this article, when the term “goat cheese” is used, it is not referring to any cheese made with goat’s milk, but rather the traditional soft and crumbly goat cheese, Cabra or Chèvre.

Produced in Murcia, Spain using pasteurized Murcian goat’s milk, Mitica has produced a sensational cheese that boasts some rather unique qualities. Slicing into a log of Capricho de Cabra, you will notice that it is slightly denser than an average soft goat cheese, yet still retains the same crumbly characteristic that is expected. Fine edges form where slices are made rather than large pieces sloughing off as you attempt to cut samples, but it still spreads and crumbles nicely with friction. ‘Heavily-whipped’ is an accurate way to describe the cheeses’ inward appearance. Tasting the cheese (Capricho de Cabra with Fine Herbs in this scenario), you will notice an initial tang and earthy spice, yet on a slightly milder level than that of other chèvre. The earthy overtone is due to the variety of herbs on the outer surface and to the earthiness attributed to goat’s milk. Next, a succession of pure richness ensues as cream and milk fat coat the tongue. This elicits an intense flavor that is more noticeable with Capricho de Cabra than other chèvre, which still contribute a generous amount of rich flavor, only to a lesser degree. Concluding each bite is a finishing note of sweetness accompanied by an almost-unnoticeable citrus zest. Yes, a citrus zest. Though somewhat odd for an unsweetened goat cheese to express sweet and zesty undertones, the proof is evident in the tasting. While seemingly a large array of flavors to experience from a single cheese, this chèvre simply possesses that much character.

Distinct from other chèvre, Capricho de Cabra has a creamier taste and mouth-feel due to the unique milk used. Murcian goats produce milk that contains a higher fat and protein content than other goat milks, which gives the cheese a denser body, richer taste, and a slightly sweeter finish. This particular goat cheese comes in a small variety of flavors other than the fresh herb as seen above, which include rosemary, pimenton (paprika), green peppercorn, or plain. The base cheese log remains the same despite the outward garnishes and spices.

Given the decadent creaminess of Capricho de Cabra with Herbs, a sweeter and full bodied wine or beer would be able to hold up to it rather well. Though the cheese does exhibit that finalizing note of sweetness, it is by no means the predominant flavor quality and thus not the focal point of the pairing. A sweeter Cabernet Sauvignon, fuller bodied Zinfandel, rich red blend, or even a Prosecco seem like fantastic pairing candidates. For a good choice in beer, certainly a rich Stout or sweet Porter would do the trick. In regards to food pairings, this cheese absolutely needs to be spread on a succulent fig, juicy date, semi-sweet dark chocolate, crumbled on a spinach salad with strawberries, on roasted beets,  whipped in a sweet potato puree, with thinly sliced prosciutto, etc.  Again, sweet and slightly acidic seem to be the perfectly paired items for this Cabra. A beverage or food light in flavor or mild in acidity would of course still work, but not make for an optimal tasting experience. However, each person is the master of their own ship, and it is up to each to discern what they like best. The voyage of cheese discovery shall akin us all to the Spanish conquistadors of yore. Journey forth to conquer new cheeses and pairings! Cheers!

The Mitica brand represents top of the line products from regions of southern Europe –  Spain, Portugal, and Italy. They are represented by Forever Cheese. A relative list of products that they offer include cheese, mostardas, dried fruit breads, jams, jellies, and Serrano ham. – Elegant Foods