Best readily-available goat cheese?
- amandine Nov 12, 2006 05:15 AM
I am always afraid to try new cheeses in case I get disappointed and end up wasting it in my fridge. I love goat cheese but am quite bored with the kind I get at Trader Joe's all the time (Madame Chevre)-- tastes too much like Philadelphia cream cheese.
Recommendations for goat cheese that I could purchase at my local supermarket or good grocery store? (I don't have the time and money to make a trip to a bona fide cheese store for this)
Whole Foods sells Humboldt Fog, which is a Morbier-style (line of ash in the middle) goat's cheese that I really like. The ones at my local WF can vary in ripeness -- I'd definitely check before buying to ensure you only get ones that are at the right stage for your tastes -- I tend to look for ones that are on the ripe side and are a little ruffled on top, with a very creamy section surrounding the denser pate.
Can you tell me a little bit more about what ripeness is and what it means in cheese in general? (I'm still at that stage where I have my cheese likes and dislikes, but I can't put my finger on *what* it is that appeals to me -- a must to find new cheeses that i'd like out there...)
Cheeses contains all sorts of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) that converted the milk into cheese -- they're still alive in the cheese and continue that conversion process, "digesting" the milk products into all sorts of aromatic compounds and changing the texture of the cheese. With the Humboldt Fog for example, as the cheese ripens, it will become softer (especially in the outer layer), and a touch more pungent (in a good way). For some cheeses the complexity and/or the intensity of the flavour increases dramatically as they ripen and age.
Our favorite is Chevre Couturier by Soignon from France. I get it at Whole Foods and also our local store.
Another hound for the Fog! Try to find it for less than $20/#. If I'm having a crappy day, shoving a few ounces of Humboldt Fog down my gullet will really cheer me up, it's like a drug. I've enjoyed all of cypress grove's cheeses that I've tried, subtle variations on the theme.
Another favorite is the french bucheron or buche, sold in slices off the log. Being a rind-ripened cheese, it too ripens from the outside in, with the gooey layer under the rind getting wider and softer with time.
If you want something milder, there are some good goat brie-style cheeses out there too.
wow, resounding yes for humboldt fog. i will try to find it where i shop... otherwise i'll have to wait for the WH in Pasadena to open up... thanks everyone
Go to a good specialty cheese shop when you are just learning about new cheeses. You'll spend a few dollars more but the education is worth it.
The cheese has been handled properly, sold at the proper ripeness, the vendor will let you taste it before you buy and explain about the cheese, even giving advice on how to serve it - wine pairings, breads, etc.
Then when you know what to look for, you can scoop up bargains when you see them. Sometimes, lower prices can mean cheeses past their prime or improper handling.