As you may or may not have noticed, I love West-coast cheeses. California seems to have an endless number of fantastic handcrafted examples to explore, and their neighbors to the North are getting in on this delicious trend. Central Oregon is home to the beautiful Cascade mountains, and Flavio DeCastilhos and his wife Margie chose this area to start a new career. Flavio spent 20 years in Silicon Valley and co-founded WebMD, while his wife worked for Hewlett Packard for 15 years. After a visit to South America, they fell in love with the art of handcrafting fine cheeses.
The DeCastilhos built Tumalo Farms near Bend, OR which sits 3,500 feet above sea level. He spent 2 years studying traditional Dutch and Italian cheesemaking methods. Their state-of-the-art facility combines the finest in modern technology with traditional farmstead methods. The milk used to produce their cheeses comes from their own herd of dairy goats on the property. Of their 6 wonderful cheeses, I have 2 absolute favorites. "Fenacho" is a semi-hard Goat's milk cheese studded with fragrant fenugreek seeds, which give the cheese a superb nuttiness and a long butterscotch finish."Pondhopper" is made with a locally micro-brewed beer, which lends a fantastic tangy flavor and a noticeable cascade-hop finish. The cheeses are aged 2-3 months. For more information on Tumalo Farms, you can visit their website. You can find Pondhopper and Fenacho locally in Tulsa at LaDonna's Fancy Foods.