Judy Schad is among a small handful of cheesemakers in the United States that was at the forefront of the farmstead cheese revolution, and she has vastly contributed to helping shape the future of the movement.
Judy has been making cheese since 1976, when she and her husband moved with their three young children from the suburbs to a hill farm in southern Indiana. They sought a sustainable lifestyle, a milk cow, and lots of gardens. When they ran the title on their new farm they discovered that it had belonged to Judy's husband's great, great grandfather in the 1870s. Over the years, the suburbs have followed them and they are now the last working dairy in the county.
Judy wanted to build a working model that others could follow, but since there were no guidelines for commercial goat dairying, they based their model, through trial and error, on an older, more traditional dairy, centered on herd health, longevity, productivity and on animals who are born, live, and die on the same farm. Judy's goats comprise of Alpine, Saanen and Nubian breeds.
Judy produces about a dozen different goat's milk cheeses across a wide spectrum of styles.
First produced in 1988, O'Banon was one of the first cheeses in the Capriole line.
The inspiration for this cheese comes from the Banon goat's milk cheese that has been made for centuries in the Haute Provence and wrapped in chestnut leaves. The French cheese is smaller and allowed to ripen within its leaves, which are traditionally soaked in local eau de vie. Judy's version is larger and she soaks the leaves in Kentucky Woodford Bourbon prior vacuum packing the cheeses at a fairly young age. This preserves moisture and gives the cheeses a fresher, lighter taste and helps retain the bourbon flavor to better effect.
The texture of the O'Banon is moist, delicate and silky. The interior paste is bone-white, tending towards brown on the rind where the leaves have been in contact with the cheese.
Flavors are aromatic due to the bourbon, but at the same time present clean, brigh,t citrus notes that underpin the delicate balance and sweetness of the goat's milk.