Nigerian Dwarf Goat Cheese! Quail Run Creamery, Willamette Valley, Oregon

This article is part of the one-month road trip series, The Great Northwest North American Wine Road Trip. Follow along in real time on Twitter with the hashtag, #NWRoadTrip.

Pulling up to Quail Run Creamery, tiny goats scampered in pens nearby, playfully headbutting one another. This was ridiculous. Just take a look:

 I mean... come on.

As well as being cute, these little fellas produce milk with 8% butter fat content—the highest of any goat breed—which makes excellent cheese. It's unlike any other goat cheese that I've ever tried—it is smooth to the end without the acidic, somewhat bitter bite that some goat cheeses have. Scott and Summer Dominic Catino own and operate Quali Run Creamery, just 40 minutes outside of Portland, Oregon, and you can visit and buy goat cheeses on Sundays or schedule a cheese-making class in advance.

Scott and Summer are super hospitable, laid-back folk. They know everything about goats and cheese!
For adventurous cheese lovers, Quail Run Creamery offers cheese-making classes for $70/person once a month, and you can choose to make soft or hard cheese, or mozzarella. Each class comes with wine and ends with a plate full of Quail Run cheese as well as other agricultural produce from the area—such as bruschetta with local tomatoes and Olympic Provisions salami.

You haven't lived until you've eaten a Caprese salad with fresh, goats milk mozzarella.
Quail Run Creamery Chevre with Republic of Jam Blood Orange Jam

During my visit, we made mozzarella, and Scott made it look easy. Soon, I was molding my own Italian-style mozzarella balls. The entire class typically lasts three hours. As an added bonus, Scott and Summer are building an Italian-style, woodfired pizza oven, so classes will end with pizza beginning in July 2013. Everyone will get to eat fresh Nigerian Dwarf goat cheese on woodfired pizza!

As a special treat, the farm's best doe, Mary, gave birth to four kids while we were there.

If you don't have time for a cheese-making class, do visit Quail Run Creamery on a Sunday to pick up some goat-cheese feta, chevre, and mozzarella, as well as to take a gander at the goats. If you're visiting the northern Willamette Valley during the week, you can also purchase Quail Run Creamery cheeses at the Gaston Market and eat them in dishes at the 1910 Main Restaurant and Cruise In Country Diner.

Portions of this article included information obtained during a press trip funded by the Washington County tourism board.


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