Fromage Friday: Beyond Chevre, a Goat Cheese Tasting

by Kelly on August 31, 2010

fromagefridaysIt’s not technically Friday (although don’t we all wish it was), but it is the end of National Goat Cheese Month.    And before it’s officially over, I wanted to share with you all a tasting of goat cheeses.  Because when most people think of goat cheese they think of this…

250_chevre_pkgFresh goat cheese or chevre.  Yes, I’d estimate that most of the time when people mention they love goat cheese they are talking about chevre, and with good reason.  It’s creamy, tangy, and versatile.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to like it, as we know a shocking amount of my recipes feature luscious, creamy chevre.

But the fabulousness of goat cheese doesn’t just stop there.  Beyond soft and milky chevre you’ll find mild cheddars, piquant blues, and rich bloomy rind cheeses, all worth exploring.  In short, as much as I love chevre, I also have a wayward eye toward other delicious goat’s milk cheeses.  It’s in this vein that I wanted to share a tasting of a few of my favorites, chosen because of the diversity they represent.  They’re great to consider if you’re bored and want to broaden your horizons, or if you need an idea for a fun cheese plate for a party.

Beyond Chevre

First up is Chevre Noir  from Quebec, Canada.  If you’re a bit intimidated about trying artisan cheeses this can be a great place to start since it basically takes the beloved flavor profile of cheddar and adds a touch of intrigue and sophistication with the goat’s milk.  This ivory-colored cheddar is nuanced and delicious, the kind of cheese that has a little something different to offer up every time you bite it.  Its fruity and savory flavors hang on for a nice finish, lingering well after you’ve taken a bite.  I love that its flavor begs to be noticed, but without being overpoweringly sharp.  I like to eat it all on its own because while it is perfectly paired with fig jam and a nice walnut bread, its flavors an get a bit lost.

Pantaleo comes to us from the island of Sardinia in Italy.  It’s aged at least 100 days so it has a firm and crumbly texture, much like a Parmesan.  If you like sweet and nutty cheeses you’ll adore this one.  It’s lightly floral with hints of citrus, but mostly I found myself captivated by how much it tasted of pistachios.  I’m a fan of eating the whole thing, middle to rind, but if you’re not, save your rinds and toss them in the next time you make vegetable soup.  They infuse the soup with so much great flavor and can be removed before serving.

Pata Cabra, a Spanish washed rind cheese, looks intimidating but tastes delicious.  Its rind is red, rippled and irregular.  (The rind is also quite pungent, both in flavor and aroma, so unless you really like your rinds you may want to skip eating this one.)  In short, it’s the kind of exterior that could make a fearful eater want to turn back.  But trust me, you’ll want to proceed.  The inside is a lovely creamy ivory color punctuated with small holes and a thin, darker band of cheese just below the rind.  Its texture is semi-soft and slightly smooth, the flavor pleasantly goaty.

Billy Blue, made by Carr Valley in Wisconsin with the milk of pasture grazed goats, is a mild blue.  It’s pleasantly salty with occasional pops of piquant flavor from the blue veins.  It’s texture is also nice, somewhere inbetween crumbly and creamy.  It’s also a pasturized cheese so if you have a fear of eating raw cheese, it’s a great choice and proof that you can still make flavorful, interesting cheese with pasturized milk.

So hopefully I’ve shown you that while Chevre is lovely and delectable, there are still LOTS of other great goat cheeses to explore.  And these are just the tip of the iceberg, just enough to make a well composed tasting.  I didn’t even mention some of my other favorites like Bonne Bouche,  Robiola di Capra Incavolata or Twig Farm Goat Tomme.

Hungry for more cheese?  Check out my past posts like how to pair cheeses with wine, fresh cheese 101, and how to make mozzarella in the microwave and in 30 minutes.  And if there are any cheese-related topics you’d like to see covered in the future please feel free to let me know in the comments section or email me.  I already have plans for a post on vegan cheese in the works as well as a few other ideas that I’ve been noodling in my journal.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite goat cheese you would like to recommend?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com August 31, 2010 at 9:42 am

thank you for your comment!! im amazed at how many people are highly sensitive, and like you said, finding a way to use it to our potential is the important piece. once u can manage it and benefit from it, you can enjoy the perks of being more sensitive by nature.. like through senses, tastes, smells, feeling, etc.

btw i was able to negotiate with my non-stinky cheese loving family.. theyre allowed to open sardines in the kitchen if i can occassionally open some Roquefort hehe 😛

xoxo

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Lauren August 31, 2010 at 12:29 pm

This was such an educational post for me – I really must expand my goat cheese repertoire to include some varieties other than chevre.

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Juliana August 31, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thank you for a such informative post…somehow we don’t but goat cheese…time to start 🙂

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Cara August 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Great post, Kelly! I think a lot of people don’t realize that goat cheese goes beyond chevre.

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