The Dancing Goats Pasta
Life on a farm is busy and demanding. Chambers and Sanok often make quick and easy pasta dishes, such as this one, that are filling but full of delicious, creamy goodness.
2 cups of dried pasta
Fresh vegetables of your choices (and a protein, if you want)
4 to 5 oz of Dancing Goats “Waltz” cheese
While the water for the pasta boils, sauté the fresh vegetables of your choice and a protein if you choose. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of liquid, and immediately add the cheese and the sautéed vegetables (and protein). Stir until the cheese has become creamy and coats the other ingredients. Add a splash of the reserved pasta liquid if desired. Makes two servings.
Farming might not be the most common post-performance career choice for former dancers, but it was the perfect fit for Craig Sanok and Paul Chambers, both formerly of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen in Toronto. As they neared the end of their performance careers, Chambers was offered a position as company manager at the Alberta Ballet, but Sanok was looking for something different. He worked at a cheese shop, in real estate and as a dog groomer, but it was a trip to his brother and sister-in-law’s house in Washington state that provided the spark he had been searching for. To care for his brother’s neighbour’s goat, Sanok helped milked the animal and then volunteered to make a quick cheese with the product. The result was a delicious cheese and a new path for Sanok. “It was one of those moments,” he says. “I wanted to work in food and with animals. This was the perfect combination of those two things.”
Four years, a lot of studying and a cheese apprenticeship later, their farm in Acme, Alberta, just under 100 kilometres northeast of Calgary, is up and running. While the days are long, with Sanok milking the goats every day at seven in the morning and at seven in the evening (“Dancers have long days,” says Chambers, “farmers have longer ones”), they are both excited by their new venture. “The work is very physical, and having been a dancer has been a surprising but helpful advantage,” says Sanok. The best part? “The goats,” he says. “They are incredible animals with amazing personalities.”
Honouring local foods and products is important for Chambers and Sanok. When it came to naming their cheeses, they wanted to respect the long history of European cheesemaking but also find their own voice. So, they named their cheeses after dances. The Waltz: A soft, spreadable cheese, mild with a bit of tang. It is simple but versatile, like the dance of its name, and can be eaten on its own, with crackers, on a salad or in recipes. The Two-Step: An homage to Alberta, it is a semi-firm washed rind cheese using a local brew from the Village Brewery. The Gavotte: A small surface-ripened form cheese inspired by Loire Valley in France. It is a little bit pungent, earthy and mushroomy – perfect for cheese boards.
DANCING GOATS FARM
• 128 acres.
• 44 goats, 18 of which are currently milked. They anticipate growing to about 60 milked goats.
• Lots of chickens
• 3 dogs.
• 2 alpacas – They came with one of the dogs.
Learn more >> dancinggoatsfarm.com
All photos courtesy of Paul Chambers