The local Ibiza goat is in danger of extinction, with only around 200 pure breeds on the island. One of the main issues is inbreeding which makes the animals weaker.
“To recover the pure breed of Ibizan goat one has to control the males, so that there is no inbreeding”, claims Pilar, who together with Fina, is responsible for the production of the delicious Ses Cabretes goats’ cheese. The ladies have 90 goats, of which 40 are pure Ibiza breed.
Ses Cabretes was born out of the idea of recovering the cheese that was traditionally made in Ibiza. In fact, many of their customers call the cheese “farmers cheese” as the taste takes them back in time.
“The taste is reminiscent of cheese from the past, with the only thing lacking being a little bit of sheep’s milk”, explains Pilar. There is no intention of including sheep on their nine hectare farm as this would mean having separate areas for the animals.
What makes a traditional Ibizan cheese? Firstly, the production process and, secondly, its ingredients. “It is made with vegetable rennet and there are very few cheeses made with vegetable rennet. We use what is known in Ibiza as the Herba de Formatjar (Cynara cardunculus), ie Thistle. It is an artisanal product that does not have any preservatives, it is salted dry (it is not placed in brine), nothing is added to the rind”, explains Pilar. Moreover, the ladies do all the work, from the milking of the goats until it is placed in the moulds and is pressed.
The Ses Cabretes goats are fed fooder and forage, the price of which is higher in Ibiza than on the mainland. A kilo of fodder costs €0.40 while in mainland Spain it costs €0.26, according to Pilar.
In a day Pilar and Fina can produce up to 25 kilos of cheese, which is equivalent to 10 large cheeses of a kilo and a half and 40 medium of about 450 grams. The cheese factory sponsored by the EU Leader project, is located in Puig d’en Vals.
One of the main values of Ses Cabretes is to focus on our roots, on tradition: “The native breeds are part of our identity, they are part of our history and we do not want them to be remembered only through old photos”.
Excerpt from Periodico de Ibiza, “El sabor de la tradición ibicenca”, 21/09/2018 by Maria Jose Real