A Chevre Grows in Indiana

Capriole, an artisanal producer featured in Blue Apron’s Fall Cheese Collection, is behind some of the best — and most giftable — goat cheese in the country

A baby goat on the farm at Capriole Cheese

What do you do with 500 goats? It’s not a question Judy Schad, founder of Capriole Cheese in Greenville, Indiana ever thought she’d have to answer. What started 31 years ago as a small enterprise on her family farm — “I was milking 70 goats, making some cheese, and thinking I was hot stuff,” she says — quickly grew into a full-fledged business when American artisanal cheese as an industry took off. To keep up with the expanding market, the Capriole herd soon ballooned to over 500 animals, which was increasingly difficult to manage; in 2012, Schad decided to sell it. “For the first time,” she says, “we could concentrate completely on the cheese.” Now the animals are raised by nearby Indiana farmers, who ship the milk back to their original home, where the Capriole team turns it into one of their nine distinct, award-winning varieties.

“For the first time,” Judy Schad says, “we could concentrate completely on the cheese.”

While Capriole does make fresh chevre — the creamy, slightly tangy goat cheese of your imagination — it’s their more out-of-the-box styles that feel most apt for entertaining. The O’Bannon, for example, is a soft cheese wrapped in bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves, imparting a hint of smoky flavor. A “nutty idea” that came to Schad after pillaging the chestnut tree in her yard, the O’Bannon is a labor of love, requiring an annual shipment of nearly 900 pounds of leaves from a partner farm in Ohio. The result is a cheese almost too pretty to eat, wrapped up like a present and “nearly indestructible,” making it a great gift. 

The O’Bannon, a labor of love, requires an annual shipment of nearly 900 pounds of chestnut leaves from a partner farm in Ohio.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Mont St. Francis, a firmer, aged variety made in the style of European cheesemonger monks (a real thing!). The slightly funky wheel is washed with a rinse of sorghum, a syrupy sweetener similar to molasses, and heavy imperial stout, currently Monnik Beer Company’s His Dark Materials. It’s a heartier variety, which pairs well with honey, charcuterie, and dark, strong beer, which means autumn is really when it shines. “When do you want a big, meaty cheese like that?” Schad asks. “When the weather cools off.” 

The O’Bannon (left) and Mont St. Francis cheeses

Both the O’Bannon and Mont St. Francis are available in Blue Apron’s Fall Cheese Collection, a cheese box created in partnership with Murray’s Cheese. In addition to the two Capriole cheeses, the collection includes a creamy Maple Leaf red wax gouda and crumbly Murray’s High Plains white cheddar, along with Rustic Bakery flatbread crackers and Date Lady date syrup, for serving and drizzling. Buy one this season for a last minute get-together, crowd-pleasing starter, or delicious gift.