One of the most delicious meals in Ibiza (and a staple for vegetarians) is ensalada de queso de cabra—goat cheese salad. The mix of fresh greens, tomatoes and carrots topped with a slab of just-melted grilled cheese captures the freshness and flavour of the island.
Queso de cabra is a traditional staple of Ibiza cuisine. The island is too small and rugged to support cows in any quantity so goats have long been the dairy animal of choice. This tradition is kept alive by Companatge, a company that makes Ibicenco foods including a wide range of delicious goat and sheep cheeses. If you visit the shop and farm Can Caus, just outside Santa Gertrudis, you might even get to see some of the goats! The products include quesos seasoned with rosemary, black pepper, and pimenton, are a great way to take home a taste of the island.
Without further ado, here are ten facts you might not know about queso de cabra.
1. Goats are browsers rather than grazers and eat a variety of grasses, weeds and shrubbery. This means queso de cabra tastes different in different areas, making it a true local flavour.
2. Goats only produce about 10% of the total volume of milk a cow does.
3. However goats produce more milk than cows for each kilo of food they consume.
4. More independent than cows, goats also respond well to care from their humans.
5. Queso de cabra is good for your health. It contains more vitamin A, vitamin B, riboflavin, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium than cow milk cheese.
6. Goat milk has a different protein structure than cow milk, which means many lactose-intolerant people can eat goat milk products.
7. If you watch your weight you will be happy to know that queso de cabra has fewer calories than cow milk cheese (and less cholesterol).
8. Eating queso de cabra is good for the environment because the goats consume fewer resources such as land and water, compared to cows.
9. Goats can reduce fire risk because they graze on weeds, shrubs and herbs that could otherwise fuel wildfires.
10. Goats were one of the first animals to be tamed by humans — almost 9000 years ago!