The smell is overpowering, the kind you can almost taste, in Old Brooklyn Cheese Company’s subterranean aging cave. I’ve come to see the Goatzart cheese, which occupies the cave’s highest shelf.
Through each darkening wheel, one can trace its transformation from a mottled brown to the inky black of the finished product.
Made out of goat’s milk from Worlim Acres in West Salem, Goatzart marks the debut collaboration between Old Brooklyn’s Michael Januska and Lake Erie Creamery’s Brian Moran.
The Goatzart they’ve created is unique among chèvre. According to Michael, only 10% of goat cheese makers in the U.S. actually age their product, and this one is not only aged, it’s done so in a curious fashion.
“It’s more of a Spanish style,” Michael explains. “[We start] by flipping it every day for a month, and then once it gets the beginning of a rind, we start brushing it with olive oil to push the mold back inside. This gives it more of an earthy flavor.” It also gives the cheese that stunning black exterior.
“You still get a bright, citrusy flavor in the center too,” Brian adds. The juxtaposition of the spicy dark rind and sweet, crumbly center makes the cheese delicious and complex.
Though this current batch has been aging for four months, Goatzart could potentially be aged for up to two years. Aging strengthens its savory flavor by locking in precious mold. “The same as if you make a reduction or stock. As the water goes bye-bye, the flavor intensifies,” Michael says.
Old Brooklyn Cheese Company is located at 4138 Pearl Road in Cleveland and is open Tuesday– Friday, 11am–7pm, and Saturday, 11am–5pm. For more information, call 218.860.4000 or visit OldBrooklynCheeseCompany.com.
Lake Erie Creamery is entering Goatzart in the American Cheese Society’s annual competition. Judging will take place on Monday, July 23, and Tuesday, July 24.