Goat Cheese Pairing
[1] Fresh Goat Cheese Log With Roasted Zucchini, Mint and Thai Chili (photos 1-3 © Goat Cheeses Of France).


[2] Valençay Pyramid With Balsamic-Marinated Watermelon.


[3] Chevre Bleu d’Argetal With Dark Chocolate.

Crottin de Chavignol
[4] Crottin de Chavignol, the best-selling French chevre (photo © Marmiton).

 

While U.S. cheesemakers produce terrific goat cheeses, the mother of goat cheese is France.

France produces a large number of goat’s milk cheeses, especially in the Loire Valley and Poitou, where goats are said to have been brought by the Moors in the 8th century.

If you’re a goat cheese fan, some names you may be familiar from France include include Bucheron, Chabis, Chabichou du Poitou, Crottin de Chavignol (the most-produced A.O.C.* goat cheese AOC, photo #4), Montrachet, Pélardon, Pouligny Saint-Pierre, Pyramide, Rocamadour, Sainte-Maure de Touraine and Valençay [source].

There are so many different goat’s milk cheeses that most people don’t know where to start. Thus, we offer three cheese pairings below.

France is the world’s #1 producer of goat’s milk cheeses. Some 3,000 artisan producers and about 60 large dairies craft more than 265 million pounds of goat cheese each year.

That’s a lot of cheese!

Collectively, French farmers manage the third largest goat herd in Europe, with 1,381,000 goats (with more arriving each spring).

That’s a lot of goats!

The secret to delicious French goat cheese is quality. This is where tradition plays a crucial role: French goat cheese has been developed and refined over centuries, so the cheesemakers know how to bring out the best in the goats’ milk and curds.

Discover more, including many recipes, at Goat Cheeses Of France.
 
 
WAYS TO SERVE GOAT CHEESE

We are never short of uses, from:

  • Breakfast: bagels, omelets, toast
  • Lunch: goat cheese and grilled vegetable sandwich, goat cheese pizza
  • Snack: goat cheese and crackers (we especially like BelVita Breakfast Biscuits, or McVittie’s digestive biscuits†)
  • Dinner: goat cheese on pasta‡ (or mac and cheese), goat cheese and arugula first course or goat cheese Caprese
  • Dessert: a cheese and fruit plate, or this goat cheese ice cream
  • Wine: with red, white or dessert wine
  •  
    Styles of goat cheese vary from:

  • Fresh and tangy, like a log of chevre.
  • Creamy and mellow, like an ash-covered Valençay pyramid.
  • Dense and nutty, like a round of aged Bucherondin.
  •  
    We love a dish of spaghetti dotted with fresh goat cheese and freshly-cracked black pepper†. While France doesn’t make a hard goat grating cheese, you can top it with parmesan or goat Gouda from Holland.
     
     
    GOAT CHEESE PAIRINGS

    These pairings are from Tia Keenan, a fromager, food stylist and the author of “Chèvre,” the first book dedicated to goat cheese.

    Tia recommends these cheese pairings, and we add wine pairings from The Nibble’s wine editor, Kris Prasad:

  • Fresh Goat Cheese Log With Roasted Zucchini, Mint and Thai Chili (photo #1). The bright acidity of a fresh goat cheese log plays against the earthiness of roasted zucchini. The flavors are highlighted by the fresh mint and bracing Thai chili, the heat of which is cooled by the butterfat in the cheese.
  •  

  • Wine Pairings: muscat from Alsace, any chenin-based wine, Costières de Nîmes from the Southern Rhone.
  • Valençay Pyramid With Balsamic-Marinated Watermelon (photo #2). Sweet, bright and full of deep, ripe flavors, the juicy watermelon contrasts with the fluffy paste of Valençay.
  • Wine Pairings: Tavel rosé, rosé Marsannay.
  • Chevre Bleu d’Argetal With Dark Chocolate (photo #3). The fruit flavors of dark chocolate mimic the mellow, fruity tones of blue cheese.
  • Wine Pairings: late harvest riesling from Alsace, muscat Beaume de Venise, rasteau fortified wine (not dry), Monbazillac sauternes (off vintage).
  •  
    While these pairings are great for Bastille Day, you can, of course, enjoy them any day of the year.

    ________________

    *AOC (APPELLATION d’ORIGINE CONTRÔLÉE) Controlled designation of origin, the AOC mark guarantees, among other things, that the cheese originates from a specific region of France and has been produced in a traditional way. There are 35 types of cheese carrying the AOC mark, which guarantees that: (1) The cheese was produced within a specific geographical area, from milk from specific herds of animals in the same area and partly matured there. (2) The cheese was made using strictly defined methods that have been handed-down over several centuries. (3) The characteristics of the cheese that have been precisely defined—its size, type of rind, texture and minimum fat content—are adhered to strictly. (4) The producers submit themselves to review by a public control commission, which guarantees the authenticity and quality of the products. See also D.O. and D.O.P.

    †McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits, imported from the U.K., are slightly sweet. They’re one of the most popular biscuits worldwide, great with a cup of tea, too. You can find them at specialty food stores and at Amazon.

    ‡Use cubes of Selles sur Cher or dollops of a fresh log, along with fresh lemon zest, pine nuts and plenty of fresh herbs.

      


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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