Located on the western slopes of the Napa Valley in California, Goat's Leap Cheese is owned by Barbara and Rex Backus, who moved there from Los Angeles in the 1970's.
Goat's Leap has built a deserved reputation for very high quality cheese from their small production and their herd of LaMancha goats. Over the years, they have developed excellent dairy and milking genetics in the herd, which have greatly helped other American LaMancha dairies improve their stock.
Goat's Leap is a seasonal dairy. Cheesemaking normally commences in April and lasts until late October or early November. The cheeses that Barbara makes also reflect the seasons. Every day, weather permitting, the goats are taken out onto the hillside above the house to browse the native California shrubs and bushes.
Barbara makes a variety of predominently younger, mold ripened cheeses in the tiny cheese room, just up the hill from the house.
What sets Barbara's cheeses apart is not just the flavor but their texture. Starting with very high quality milk, Barbara handles the curd for her cheeses with great dexterity that results in some of the finest, silkiest textures of any American cheeses on the market.
Made from raw milk in the style of a pressed, mountain cheese, Carmela is usually aged for about five months before release.
The texture of Carmela is dense and slightly crumbly, depending on age, with occasional "eyes," or holes. The color of the interior paste is bone-white.
Flavors are rich and complex with notes of hay, grass, earth and mushrooms.