Little Cheesemaker Surprises

If you frequent farmers markets you have probably already discovered this - many times cheesemakers sell products at farmers markets that you won't find anywhere else. Today's featured surprise is cajeta, or goat's milk caramel, a traditional Mexican confection. Portland Creamery is well known around Portland for its great plain and flavored chevrés, but if you frequent the local markets you'll find this gem of a cajeta. Little Brown Farm, a small goat dairy on Whidbey Island near Seattle, makes a number of styles of goat's milk cheeses but at Seattle area farmers markets you can buy not one but two kinds of cajeta, regular and chocolate, which is a rare sort of double deliciousness.

In order to make cajeta, cheesemakers combine goat's milk with sugar and heat the mixture low and slow until it gets gooey, thick and caramelized. As you might expect, the results are fantastic. Because it's made with milk (unlike straight caramel, which is made with just sugar), cajeta has a depth of flavor and gorgeous richness that takes caramel to the next level. There's also a just a hint of cinnamon. Cajeta is perfect for drizzling over ice cream, fresh chevre, fromage blanc...or just use your imagination. Check each cheesemaker's website for their current market schedule and give this stuff a try!