This week I’ve been doing a lot of research on Manchego, that ubiquitous Spanish cheese that appears in coolers everywhere with its bone face and herringbone-like rind. It always makes me think of a stoic in a suit. I’ve pegged it as a waxy, not very interesting cheese. Then I met Kidchego.
As you might guess from the name, Kidchego is full of young energy. It’s made with raw goat’s milk by one Amos Miller, in Pennsylvania Amish country. He uses a recipe for Spanish Manchego, but the tweak is in the milk type. Kid goats give this cheese an herbaceous tang. Think walnuts, lemon brightness, wild grasses. It’s a Super Friend to rosé.
I wrote about Kidchego in Grid Magazine last month, and it still haunts me like lyrics I can’t get out of my ear. If Kidchego were a song, I’m pretty sure it would be by Donovan or maybe Kid Rock, something zeitgeisty. There’s something to be said for taking an old recipe and turning it on its head.
Before I get skewered for being a Manchego hater: here’s a useful tip I learned from Hunter Fike at the Di Bruno Bros. counter recently. Whether you’re eating a reticent Mahon or a gently smoky Idiazabal, keep in mind that Spanish sheep’s milk cheeses are always subtlety freaks. They are trying to whisper in your ear. They like to walk in the shadow of olives and cured meats at tapas bars, and they have little flings with membrillo–a glistening fruit paste, usually made from quince.
Pick out a Spanish sheep cheese as you would bread – it’s meant to be a back-up singer. Give it a triangle, a tambourine. If you like more percussion in a cheese, as I do, look for Kidchego.
In Philly, Kidchego can be found at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market. It’s distributed by Farm Fromage.