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.
Dafne is a mold ripened wheel weighing about 1.5lbs. The rind is coated with a white, bloomy mold, and the interior paste of the cheese is bone-white in color. Barbara decorates each round with a bay leaf and seasonal flowers.
The texture is consistently smooth and mousse-like in the center of the cheese, becoming softer and slightly more runny just under the rind as the cheese ages.
Flavors are delicate and citrus-like, with hints of milk and a slight spicyness imparted by the bay leaf.