Gamey sheep's milk feta?

Has anyone else experienced this? Even the two cloves of raw garlic in this spread couldn't overcome it. Seriously. I still smell raw sheep fat on my breath.

Did I get a bad piece, or is this sheep-y taste common to sheep's milk feta?

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aargersi
aargersi July 30, 2013

I have a friend who raises goats and makes feta, and she says the gaminess has to do in part with the maker's milking practices. She is super careful to fully clean the goats before milking and then filter the milk right away. Your sheep milk person probably allowed a bit more sheep than one would like into the mix. I would toss it ...

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beejay45
beejay45 July 30, 2013

Thanks, Abbie. Don't worry. This is so unpleasant there's no way I would eat it. It's labelled "organic," not that says much in this case.

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petitbleu
petitbleu July 30, 2013

What you're tasting is probably lanolin--the oil that makes the sheep's coat somewhat water-resistant. Or there's a chance the shepherd is letting the rams run with the ewes, which is not good for cheese (rams are musky, stinky suckers). Either way, the cheese producer should know better. Some funk is great in farmstead cheeses, but it shouldn't taste like you're licking a sheep.

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beejay45
beejay45 July 30, 2013

Thanks, petitblu, but not lanolin. It smells like the fat on a lamb chop or leg of lamb, immediately identifiable, which I find rather disturbing. Unless sheeps milk just smells like that, but I've never noticed it in a pecorino Romano.

I've had sweaters knit from the wool that still has the lanolin in it -- great for keeping dry in fog or drizzles. So I definitely know what that smells like. Now your second idea... ;)

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aargersi
aargersi July 30, 2013

I emailed my friend and asked what she thinks about this - she said it can also happen when the farmer doesn't cool the milk properly / quickly - another one for the "funky" column. ugh.

I have never actually licked a sheep but I imagine it is unpleasant :-)

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beejay45
beejay45 July 30, 2013

LOL, Abbie! Something I imagine only another sheep would enjoy. Thanks for following up on this.

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