Pretty much everybody knows what goat cheese is; but do they? Of course, most people know goat cheese (aka Chevre) as a white, sometimes blue-ish, crumbly cheese that appeared on a lot of cooking commercials and was popular on beet salads during the late 1980’s thanks to the cooks and chefs of Northern California.
Good, fresh, and wholesome Chevre (Goat Cheese) is a unique and important thing; using the right kind can make or break a dish. It should, in theory, be without graininess; it should be creamy, moist, lemony but also balanced with milk flavors, and it should under no circumstance have a foul or overbearing flavor.
However, it’s hard to find an exact cheese with all of those perfect properties, unless you are looking for it very carefully and at the right store, with all of the proper knowledge under your belt. There are many (and I mean many) imposter cheeses out there. They are metallic, grainy, gluey and dry and are without any nuance whatsoever.
These unprofessional and out of character types of goat cheese is what turns so many people away from its delicate yet robust and delicious flavor.
But back to knowing precisely what goat cheese is; how is it different from traditional cow cheese? Goat cheese, the longer it is aged, the tastier in becomes which is the exact opposite of cow cheese. If you take cow cheese and leave it for longer than it is supposed to be, it becomes moldy and smelly.
There are different kinds of goat cheese as well. Some variations of goat cheeses are buttery, lemony and creamy while other more firm and aged kinds are more potent and savory, with a skin of nut and cooked milk.
Aside from the essential freshly made kind, what sort of goat cheeses should I keep an eye out for? I’ll tell you!
1. Goat Brie
French “Brie” cheeses, contrary to popular belief, do not originate from classic Brie country. Instead, they come from Poitou-Charentes and the Rhone-Alpes regions. It is commonly believed that they only call it Brie cheese (even though it is no more than a style of cheese) to attract a more western-American audience.
Brie, wherever it is made, has a very mild flavor and a smooth and moist texture. The rind of the cheese is thin, and the cheese itself underneath is very delicate and tastes like cream with a hint of citrus.
2. Bonne Bouche (coming from the famous Vermont Creamery)
This delicate cheese resembles one of France’s most traditional cheeses, originally hailing from the Loire Valley in Selles-sur-Cher. Unlike France, Bonne Bouche (which coincidentally means ‘good mouthful’) has a cheese rind that is exclusively produced with a rare type of yeast known as ‘geotrichum candidum.’
This rind has a grainy and smokey appearance that, because of its thinness, allows the cheese inside to become a delicious, oozing paste within a couple of weeks. These types of goat cheese are usually sprinkled with ash on the rind, and the ash acts as a sealant and bug repellant.
3. Garrotxa Cheese
This cheese is very interesting because almost every professed goat cheese hater that has tasted of this cheese has been one over. Its rind is medium-thickness rind with the softness of fur, to a degree, because of it’s aging process. (Fine, I’ll say it. Mold. It’s mold, okay? But you don’t eat the rind, so it’s fine.)
The inside of the cheese, however, is a different story. It is pliable, yet dense and has been aged firmly. It is somewhat tangy but is still soft and sweet like goat cheese, which is certainly a boon.
While there are dozens of other kinds of goat cheeses that you should do the research on and try for yourself, these are the most popular and most likable of cheeses. (When compared to the famous rotten cheese, which usually consists of maggots as a main course.)
There are many kinds of cheeses out there, of course, but every kind will appeal to someone. However, these are the tastiest and likable in our opinion. Enjoy!