Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Get yer goat on!

Spring time is goat time!

Goat milk is lower in fat than sheep or cow milk, so the lightness of goat milk cheeses is perfect for warmer weather.

You might be familiar with popular favorites like the chèvre log or Humbolt Fog, but its time for you to try something different.

Here are three goat cheeses to expand your love for goat cheese. 

These three cheeses might also be a good introduction to goat cheese for someone who is not fond of more pungent cheese. Unlike cow milk cheese, goat cheeses tend to be less pungent and more approachable the longer they're aged.

Bonne Bouche 

Vermont Creamery produces this hockey puck-sized gem that resembles a French classic called Selles-sur-Cher.

The rind is wrinkly and peach fuzz-like with a grey, ashen color. The cheese is so fragile that it comes in a tiny wooden crate. 

Bonne Bouche is only aged 10 days before it leaves the creamery, and if you eat it right away it will taste clean and bright, with light flavors of citrus and hay.

You could buy and eat it right away, or you could let it continue to ripen for up to two months.

I like the flavor of Bonne Bouche when I've aged it between one and two weeks. At that point the interior of the cheese is soft and smooth and the flavor becomes more complex: buttery, salty, mushroomy, a slight sour cream tang, and a bacon-like savoriness.

If you continue to let the cheese ripen, it will slump over and spread out to fill its wooden crate as a spicy, nutty flavor develops.


Garrotxa is a Spainish semi-firm cheese made in the foothills of Catalonia, a region towards the Mediterranean end of the Pyreenes mountains. Production of this cheese had all but ceased in the 1950s until the style was revived with great success in early 1980s.

The rind is covered with soft, grey mold and the cheese looks like a river rock about four inches high and six inches across. The rind adds a nice forest aroma, but you don't want to eat it because it doesn't taste very good.

Garrotxa is only aged two months. The interior is bright white, moist, and flaky. The flavor is slightly earthy, a little herbal, and not at all typical of goat cheese. 


Classico is the flagship cheese of Bend, Oregon's Tumalo Farms.

After years of working in high tech, the owners left Silicon Valley and moved to Bend, Oregon to pursue their dreams of making cheese. They attempted to assemble a herd of sheep, but getting a herd of goats together proved easier. 

Tumalo Farms now produces a variety of gouda-style goat cheeses. Classico is their flagship cheese. Its a semi-firm wheel aged 3 to 5 months in caves dug into the side of a hill at Tumalo Farm's state of the art cheesemaking facility.

The cheese smells mild, without any trace of the earthiness that some find offensive.

Classico is a mild flavored gouda-style goat cheese with flavors of browned butter and hazelnuts with a honeyed, floral finish.

It melts well – you could make a great grilled cheese sandwich with it, or you could grate some over pasta.


Goat cheeses pair well with beets or butternut squash, as both the cheese and the vegetables have components of sweetness and earthiness.

Asparagus also goes well with goat cheese. Try grating some Classico over roasted asparagus instead of parmesan.

For drinks, reach for something light bodied that won't overpower the mild cheese flavors.


Sauvignon Blanc is a classic pairing, but also think about a rosé. I'd suggest one from the Provence region of France because those wines are usually made from the Grenache grape and have a savoriness that works well with goat cheeses.

If you are a beer drinker, think Saison, which has a beautiful orange-gold color and is super refreshing. Saison's citric and pepper notes mirror the flavors in the goat cheese for a great match.

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