O’Banon: A Sweet Goat Cheese
January 6, 2011
O’Banon may be modeled on a French goat cheese, but during our tasting we kept looking East. O’Banon’s appearance has a Japanese aesthetic: its simple chestnut leaf packaging makes the whole cheese like an elegant gift. Jacob described O’Banon as a sakura mochi, the leaf-wrapped rice confection one eats to celebrate the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. Beyond its beautiful presentation, O’Banon is another terrific goat cheese from Capriole Farmstead Goat Cheese.
O’Banon is a soft, chevre-style goat cheese farmstead produced in Indiana. The cheese is produced in small discs and wrapped in bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves. The wrapped cheese is then neatly trussed with twine.
The cheese’s olive brown chestnut leaves are pliable and slightly damp. When removed from its leaf wrap, the cheese shows some brown staining where the cheese came into contact with the leaves. The cheese surface also shows an artful leaf impression from its wrapping. O’Banon’s paste is very dense and bone white.
The leaves and the cheese have the aroma of sweet Japanese plum wine.
O’Banon has a bright, tart fruit flavor initially, but the cheese’s tartness and tanginess are balanced by an underlying sweetness. O’Banon has a sweet prune flavor that mellows out the cheese and leaves a lasting impression. In the mouth, the paste is soft and dense like cheesecake.
We all really liked O’Banon. When eaten on its own, O’Banon seems quite flavorful. Yet, its delicate plum flavors are overwhelmed when eaten with anything but the most simple bread. O’Banon’s sweetness and cheesecake-like density suggest dessert.
O’Banon has such a beautiful presentation that I’d hesitate to have it share space on a plate with other cheeses. Capriole shows O’Banon exposed with its leaves arraying the cheese (lovely). O’Banon has the feel of a more singular and intimate occasion cheese.
O’Banon would also make an excellent cheese for a host/hostess gift. It is neatly wrapped and is a delicious treat that not many would purchase on their own. And, O’Banon is a relatively sweet cheese that should have broad appeal.
Purchase Notes: We purchased O’Banon at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco). A whole wrapped cheese weighs 6 oz. and serves 4-5 people.