Goat Lady Dairy’s Providence

Goat Lady Dairy in Climax, NC, has been producing its award-winning Providence cheese for over a decade, but it is not always available.

“We’ve taken breaks from it throughout the years,” says the dairy’s owner Carrie Bradds.

She describes its creation as a “happy accident”.

“When we started developing this cheese, it was more a taleggio-style cheese,” Bradds says. “Twenty years ago, we didn’t have the right ripening rooms, as we were really small; we were aging in refrigerators.”

Providence is made with pasteurized goat milk, and it features a natural rind.

“Once we get a good surface, we brush it with olive oil every week and turn it,” Bradds explains. “This seals it off and also deters mites from starting in that cave; once you get them, you can’t get rid of them.”

Providence is made once weekly when goat milk is in season — from March to mid-December.

“Each year, that cheese is made with the first flush of milk, and we stop making it in October,” Bradds says.  “It’s made in batches of 240 gallons at a time, and each batch gets 30 squares or wheels; that’s the baseline for this cheese.”

Providence can be sold when it’s aged as little as three months, but is best when it’s five to six months old.

Bradds describes this cheese as dense, with no gas holes, and having a natural rind that is edible.

“It will get earthy, mushroomy notes, but as it ages the cheese will have more of a caramel taste,” she says. “It doesn’t have goatiness like many goat cheeses, but this flavor comes out more when it’s heated.”

This is a grating cheese that melts pretty well, but is best used like Parmesan or Manchego.

“It’s not as hard as Parmesan,” Bradds says. “If we age it out to 12 months, it will be that hard, but we don’t do that often.”

She says Providence is mainly used on cheese boards or in recipes, but can be paired with Goat Lady’s Lindale cheese for a mac and cheese dish. It is best paired with fig or topped with a balsamic glaze.

“It goes well with any dried fruits, but my favorite pairing is with soppressata or spiced salami,” Bradds says. “Most people say it goes well with a dry red wine.”

It is much decorated, and is the first cheese to win first place three times in the American Cheese Society competition’s Original Recipe category.

“It has won the most prestigious awards out of all our cheeses,” Bradds says.

Goat Lady Dairy ships Providence direct, and it also is available at Whole Foods and Murray’s Cheese.

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter!