Introducing Capriole Goat Cheese

Capriole Goat Cheese began as an experiment. And, to be fair, the combination of going from a suburban lifestyle and a background in banking, not animal husbandry, to managing an 80-acre farm and hundreds of goats might not sound like a recipe for success. But almost 50 years since the farm’s inception, Schad is making some of the country’s most prized goat cheeses, and Capriole has become one of the oldest, most award-winning goat cheese farms across the United States. Capriole has been in the business for decades now and is on its third generation of cheesemakers, with Judy’s grandson, Sam, taking on the mantle of General Manager! 

Scott Evans, the Deli’s domestic cheese buyer, says,

I’m very  fortunate to work at Zingerman’s, a  business that has such long-standing relationships with great American producers. Judy Schad and Capriole are icons of American artisan food, and they’re just a few hours away. Forty years ago, if you wanted to experience cheese like this, you pretty much had to leave the country. Best case scenario, you could fly to California. It’s such a luxury today to be able to have world-class cheese in the Deli, even better whenit doesn’t have to be on a boat for 2 weeks.  

We are thrilled to say it’s been a longtime resident on our cheese counter!


Meet Judy Schad

In 1976, Judy and her husband Larry decided to build a homestead on Larry’s great-great-great grandparents’ 1850 farm. Judy had spent her childhood summers on her own grandparents’ Indiana farm where she learned the joys of fresh food prepared with lots of love, and she was ready to say goodbye to her suburban life as a banker in exchange for hands-on farming work. The unique combination of farmland, forest, and limestone hills is hardly ideal farming for cultivation, but it’s a match made in heaven for a herd of goats! They quickly gained their footing in the art of cheesemaking and built a creamery on the land in 1990. What was once a small herd of goats expanded with the demand for local cheeses, and by 2012 Capriole was managing over 500 animals. In order to concentrate fully on their cheesemaking, Judy sold the herd to Indiana farmers who now supply Capriole with goat’s milk, and their capacity for cheesemaking grew exponentially. 

Although Capriole no longer cares for animals, the farmland has a special place in their hearts and is home to beautiful flora and fauna; wildflowers, dogwood, migratory birds, foxes, even bobcats! To preserve this land they love so much, Capriole partnered with the Sycamore Land Trust to conserve their farmland in perpetuity. With this security, the farm and woodlands are kept safe from being turned into subdivisions, and all the wildlife that calls that land home can live peacefully. 

Since founding the farm, Judy has earned a number of accolades and has given her time and expertise back to the cheesemaking community by taking on leadership roles in advocacy and industry groups. She served as a board member, conference chair, and vice president of the American Cheese Society, American Dairy Goat Association, and Chicago Green City Market, respectively. Currently, she is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and Slow Food USA. Judy is the recipient of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs’ Outstanding in Her Field Award, and in 2015, was made Maitre du Fromage by the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, one of the highest honors for a cheesemaker! Many of her cheeses have been finalists and winners of Good Food and American Cheese Society awards across the past decade. 

Maaa-velous Goat Cheese

Did you know that goats were some of the first animals to be domesticated for producing food? They were—roughly ten thousand years ago! Goat cheese has evolved wildly since then, made around the world in a variety of techniques to produce many styles of goat cheese ranging from fresh and soft to aged and hard. Most goat cheese is not aged extensively, which makes our selection of goat cheeses at the Deli a seasonal affair. Below you will find a list of what you will find in our regular rotation, but in no way exhaustive of all the cheesy goodness Capriole has to offer. Spring is an especially wonderful season for goat cheese, as the goats are grazing again and it’s kid season, so milk is abundant! Check online or call us to find out which of these marvelous cheeses we have in stock!



Julianna is a tiny goat’s milk tomme, a semi-firm lactic cheese, aged 4 to 8 months. Buttery and smooth like Old Kentucky Tomme, but nuttier and firmer. The mushroomy rind is lovingly rolled in calendula, safflower, and Herbes de Provence, resulting in a gorgeous showpiece of a cheese! This one is for fans of Brin d’Amour or Fleur du Maquis—two other cheeses adorned with herbs, but made with sheep’s milk—and pairs nicely with olives, charcuterie, and a generous pour of your favorite dry white wine. It’s a perfect cheese for a springtime or summer charcuterie board.

Mont St. Francis

This is one of America’s first washed-rind cheeses, developed in the ’90s! Washed-rind cheeses like this Mont were first developed across European monasteries, traditionally washed in brine or beer. This rustic goat’s milk semi-firm round is washed in a Russian imperial stout, His Dark Materials from Monnik Beer Company in Louisville, Kentucky. The stout brings out a funky flavor that finishes smokey and sweet. Named for a southern Indiana township near Capriole, it’s funky, it’s musky, it’s a game-changer. Try it with your next dark beer! One cheesemonger commented that if all monastery cheeses came even close to this one, “it might be enough to tempt me toward the monastic life.”



According to Scott, “Opening an O’Banon on a cheeseboard will impress anyone.” O’Banon is an American take on the Provençal classic, Banon, that (we think) surpasses the original. A fluffy and fresh goat’s milk cheese decked in bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves. It is fruity, tart, sweet, and just a little boozy, but totally in balance. While Banon has been made for centuries in the Haute Provence of France, Capriole’s O’Banon is larger and fresher than its French counterpart. Rather than the chestnut leaves soaked in eau de vie, Capriole uses Woodford Reserve Bourbon to wrap its rounds of O’Banon to give this creamy cheese an extra kick of flavor.

Old Kentucky Tomme

This semi-soft raw goat’s milk cheese reminds us of buttered asparagus—if asparagus isn’t your thing, bear with us! It’s mildly and pleasantly vegetal and builds in flavor, like a good story unfolding. The flavor profile falls between American Jack and Tomme de Savoie in its buttery and mushroomy overtones. If you’re dipping your toe into goat cheese for the first time and you’re not quite sure where you stand, this one is a game-changer for beginners. When it’s young, the paste inside is smooth and the rind outside is naturally bloomy. As it ages, the rind becomes crusty and darker while the texture inside becomes more translucent and shiny, and develops a sharpness at the finish that you tend to find in Italian cheeses. 

Piper’s Pyramide

Named after Judy’s red-haired granddaughter, Piper, this cheese is a bright, young, paprika-laced cheese that gets hand-ladled into individual pyramid-shaped molds, perfect for a cheeseboard shared amongst friends. Winner of the 2016 American Cheese Society award and a 2022 Good Food Awards Finalist, it’s easy to see why this is the aged cheese of choice at Capriole. Piper’s Pyramide has a light, cloudlike texture that gets more dense and buttery as it ages. Piper currently works with her family at Capriole in marketing and brand strategy!


Wabash Cannonball

This ash-dusted ball o’ fun is everything exciting about artisan cheese. It’s aged for just ten days, but don’t be fooled—beneath the wrinkled rind is a complexity of flavor that is rarely found in such a quickly matured cheese. Bon Appétit, oddly but aptly, compares it to a hamster: “soft, cuddly and sweet, but also kind of smells.” Fluffy and slightly firm when young, more ooey-gooey later in life, Wabash is one of Capriole’s most well-known cheeses. Liz Thorpe says in her book The Cheese Chronicles, “It was truly the most delicious thing I had ever eaten… and it was the cheese that resurrected all the reasons why I’d become interested in cheese in the first place.” American Cheese Society Best in Show winner. 


Tea Rose

This fresh goat cheese is similar to O’Banon in texture. Covered in herbes de Provence, fennel pollen, and flower petals to complement the delicate texture of the chevre. As good-looking as it is tasting, this one steals the cheese board (watch out; the other cheeses might get jealous…). A 2023 Good Food Award finalist! Scott says, “Springtime is when the fresher, softer cheeses really shine. It goes hand in hand with plants blooming and warmer weather. I’m always excited when Tea Rose is back in the store. It’s floral, and beautiful just to look at, before you even smell or taste it.”


This cheese is wrapped up and shipped out as soon as it forms a rind—in less than two weeks! A rich, creamy texture with a light grassy taste, Sofia is the result of Capriole’s love affair with Loire Valley cheeses; it’s perfect for the spring and sure to become a favorite. As it ages, the paste will become denser and creamier. According to Food & Wine, Sofia is “one of the very best cheeses in the Midwest, which only sounds like a bold pronouncement until you’ve tried it for yourself.” A 2020 Good Food Award winner and a 2023 Good Food Award finalist!

Capriole is one of our favorite goat cheese vendors, and it’s easy to see why. Did one—or more—of these cheeses catch your eye? Drop by the Deli to taste test and figure out your favorite, or browse online!