Van Goat is instantly recognizable for its wonderfully decorated exterior dotted with edible flowers.
Located in Pescadero, California, Harley Farms is a restored dairy farm that dates back to 1910. Owned and run by Dee Harley, a native of Britain, this is the only remaining dairy in San Mateo County, a once thriving dairy region. Having originally started with six pet goats, Harley Farms is now home to over 200 American Alpine goats. The milk is transformed into farmstead cheeses daily.
For production of this fresh chèvre, the milk is pasteurized at the lowest possible temperature in order to retain as much of its character as possible. The curd is also handled very gently to preserve the high moisture and delicate texture of the cheese. The fresh cheese is allowed to drain for 12-16 hours before being formed into discs and decorated with the edible flowers. Head cheesemaker Salud Zavala picks flowers for the cheese from the farm’s garden, which she arranges in the bottom of muffin tins (for small size versions) or in custom-made molds (for larger versions). A layer of fresh cheese is placed over the petals, sprinkled with a layer of sunflower seeds and basil, then covered with another layer of fresh cheese.
The flavors of Van Goat are fresh, milky and sweet with slight vegetal notes, a hint of citrus and a slight crunchiness from the sunflower seeds. Its texture is fragile and delicate, soft and silky.
Pair Van Goat with a chardonnay or with a rosé.