LaClare Family Creamery
Larry and Clara Hedrich (La from Larry and Clare from Clara = LaClare) bought their farm in 1978 and began raising goats and five children. They went commercial in 1996, made their first cheese in 2008, began full time cheese making in 2009 and began making cheese on site in 2012. LaClare Family Creamery first made Evalon in 2008. Evalon is a raw whole goat milk cheese aged for a minimum of 5 months and modeled after Gouda with Parmesan and Asiago notes. It was a 2018 Good Food Award Winner and a 2017 American Cheese Society Third Runner Up.
The cheese has a rich goaty smell with a hint of sweat, grass, nuts and caramel. It has a firm aged ivory colored paste that gets yellow towards the rind. It springs back when you press it and crumbles when you try to roll it into a ball. The texture is a slightly rubbery and little grainy and has a slight crunch. The flavor is goaty, nutty, buttery, and caramelly and does recall Parmesan and Asiago.
I am drinking this with Sap House In Your Head Cranberry Mead. the mead is full bodied with a rich honey texture and big honey flavors but it is not overly sweet. The cranberries bring a mild flavor, some tartness to balance the honey and some tannins to build the body. The mead's tannins and fruit flavors bring out Evalon's nut character and deflect some of the cheese's goat character. Together the cheese and mead produce wonderful nutty, fruity, slightly goaty lingering after tastes. The cheese rates an 80 and the pairing an 85.
LaClare recommends pairing Evalon with ciders, fruit beers, stouts and brown ales.