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Getting Their Goat

Corralitos Cheese Company's farmstead produces innovative takes on Old World classics

By Christina Waters

One of the top Central Coast goat cheese facilities, Corralitos Cheese Company uses homegrown goat's milk from its small herd to create award-winning cheeses. Started in the early '90s by Kenneth and Johanne Christmas at their Five Mile Farms in the rural south of Santa Cruz County, the company continues to grow.

Depending upon natural cycles, anywhere from 50 to 100 animals provide the pure liquid product turned into a half-dozen gourmet cheeses by resident cheesemakers Ken Christmas and Kristin Bremm. Bearing the "Les Très Bon Chèvre" label, Corralitos Cheese's fromage blanc (a fresh, creamy, unaged variety of goat cheese), feta and two cheddars are finding their way to markets and restaurants all over the Greater Bay Area.

"Our herb and garlic fromage blanc took a first place last year from the American Cheese Society," says Johanne Christmas, who modestly calls herself a "behind-the-scenes" worker at the goat cheese farm. "And the feta took first place the year before."

At our house, the favorite way to enjoy Corralitos French-style soft goat cheeses is the sumptuous version swirled through with basil pesto and sun-dried tomato, the intense, freshly harvested flavors adding complexity to the mild cheese. We also love the knock-out feta--sharp, clean and slightly salty. It's especially great with salads of baby greens or apples and walnuts. Add a splash of balsamic and you've got a foolproof light summer appetizer.

One of the very few goat-cheese producing farms in California using its own goat's milk exclusively, Corralitos Cheese Company specialties are widely distributed throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. "When we put them into the stores," Christmas explains with pride, "we guarantee their freshness." Used in restaurants from San Francisco down to Carmel, Corralitos goat cheeses are easy to come by at the Cabrillo College farmers' market on Saturday.

To find out more about Corralitos Cheese Company products, call Kenneth or Johanne Christmas at 408/722-1821. I wouldn't kid you, now would I?

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From the June 6-12, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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