Here is part 2 of a series of 3 posts about visiting Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma, CA.
Just before we left the Achadinha creamery, where owner Donna Pacheco’s full-time employee Fernando and another helper were packaging cheese for market, Donna invited my photographer Gavin and myself to taste some. We started with curds made the week before. They were almost bright yellow, wonderfully full-flavored, slightly tangy, and slightly springy. (I don’t think they were squeaky, for those who are asking.) It’s not surprising that a good amount of Achadinha’s sales are in curds. We tasted some fresh curd as well, made that morning, originally destined for Broncha. This mixed-milk curd tasted almost like sweet butter, but with a fluffy marshmallowy consistency (squeak!). I could have easily eaten just curds, but we moved on to the cheeses.
First up was the feta, which Donna makes herself early on Friday mornings. It was very heavily brined, which is why she normally suggests that customers fill the remainder of the container with water to draw out some of the salt. The texture was ultra-crumbly. It almost pops in the mouth before breaking down.
The broncha, her mixed cow/goat milk, was up next. I tasted a subdued cow milk flavor, which gradually gave way to the goat milk. It started off in the mouth with a bang, but quickly mellowed out with a slightly lingering aftertaste. As far as cheeses go, it was not sweet, which was maybe what I was expecting. The rind was fabulously fine, like paper.
Last up was the Capricious. Aged as long as it is, it has a kind of flinty, dry texture that would make for great grating. It had a sweetness that I was surprised to taste, along with a grassy quality. This one took a bit of time for the flavor to develop. It started of mellow, so all I felt was the texture, then exploded with flavor, then faded back down to mellow again. Pretty extraordinary, and very complex. I had to get two pieces of that one just to make sure of what I had tasted.
Next post: visiting the animals!