Goat Cheeses of the Moment
I know what you’re thinking. When is Her Ladyship going to get back to the subject of cheese? I know, I know. I’ve gotten a little distracted by camels and classes, and it really is high time I sat down and provided some real dairy direction like the courtesan I promised I would be.
Please tell me you are eating fresh goat cheese? Really, you should be devouring it this very second — while spring is at it’s peak. This is fresh goat cheese weather, thanks to all the rain. It’s great for seeding pastures with lush budlets, dear ones, and if you don’t harness the power of the lush budlet, you are missing out. The best milk is spring milk, as any farmer will tell you, and guess what? It’s all because of those lush budlets.
In France, this is high season for Loire Valley goodies, like ash-dipped Valencay and Selles-sur-Cher. We’ve talked about the ash coating, darlings. It’s perfectly edible, so go ahead and eat it. Break out the blackberry jam and the English muffins. Gussy up your asparagus, and diddle your fiddleheads. Young goat cheese augments all of these treats, along with spring greens and first berries. Don’t be shy. Crumble and slather, I say.
Should you find yourself at the cheese counter looking quizzically at a bevy of downy caprine logs, let me offer you some advice in choosing a good goaty morsel.
How To Choose Goat Cheese
1. Ask to try some samples. If you go to a reputable cheese counter, this shouldn’t be a problem. Tell the monger whether you favor a bit of lactic tang. If you want a smooth ruse, ask for Capricho de Cabra — it’s mild, creamy, and very affordable.
2. “Bucky” goat cheese is no good. It means a male goat wandered around the farm and got the nanny goats rowdy. Their hormonal excitement affects the flavor of the cheese. This is one case where pheromones are not attractive.
3. Chevre is fresh, unaged goat cheese — it’s the mildest goat cheese possible. Go a step up, and you’ll get a “bloomy” goat cheese with more flavor. It’s also young (aged only a few weeks), but it will be covered in a delicious downy mold (like you see on Brie), which adds a note of black pepper. My favorite bloomy of the moment is Leonora.
4. Honey pairs well with young goat cheese, so do wheat beers and sparkling wines. For a little party, stuff some figs with goat cheese and drizzle them with honey. Or set out a baguette, fig jam, walnuts, some fresh thyme, a jar of honey, and some goat cheese. Dazzling combos.
5. If you’re precocious and all of this is old news to your golden palate, pick up a slice of something adventurous, like Montenebro, the black beauty of Spanish cheeses, or a marshmallowy lump of Ticklemore. Then curl up in a hammock and spend the afternoon eating these like cake.