The biggest transformation for me personally through this almost 100 day journey into cheese has been my new-found love for goat cheese. Now that I have crossed over to the goat side I just can’t get enough. Luckily, BC seems to be full of goat’s-milk cheese, and some of it within driving distance of yours truly.I just picked up this little button of goat cheese the other day in Vancouver. It looked intriguing to me, it’s the first “button” of cheese I have seen for sale. When I saw that it was goat, local and organic I was sold. Really, they had me at goat.
Today’s cheese, Chevrotina is made by the certified organic “Goat’s Pride” Dairy in Abbotsford, BC. It’s the first Certified Organic goat dairy in western Canada. This local company has been making cheese for the past six years. In addition to cheese, Goat’s Pride farm offers tours for groups of 12 or more with activities including goat education, cheese tasting, and goat milking demonstration. This farm tour offering seems to be on trend with local fromageries. One suspects it must be challenging to deal with goats, cheese making, and tourists simultaneously.
Goat’s Pride is a family owned farm. Peter and Jo-Ann Dykstra and their children do it all. They keep their goat-herd and their fromagerie on the same property, so it’s all very cozy. The goats have access to roam outside when it is sunny, and they can wander freely on the farm’s 20 acres of bush, snacking to their little goat hearts content. Their pens are large, and roomy, and this whole set up seems very goat positive. The goats here are fed organic grain, hay and alfalfa. They use no hormones, and will use antibiotics only under duress-preferring to use herbal or homeopathic remedies, and that’s a first, homeopathics for goats! Wow. Most of the milk comes from their farm although they do occasionally source milk from another organic goat farm in Chilliwack.
I am fairly certain there must be a savvy teenager in this family, as this is one of the more dialled in set ups I have seen. Besides the website and facebook page, this dairy also tweets on Twitter, and that’s another first. Goat’s Pride Dairy received two awards at the recent American Cheese Society Cheese Competition in Montreal, alas, not for today’s cheese, but not bad for a newbie.
Today’s cheese, Chevrotina, is a camembert style goat’s cheese. That means it’s very young and surface ripened-and made of goat milk. Interestingly, they appear to have made up the name Chevrotina. Chevrotin des Aravis and Chevrotin des Bauges are both AOC cheeses from France, thus perhaps the name is a nod to these cheeses. Maybe they just liked the name as it includes the all-important “Chevre,” Who knows? Goat’s Pride Chevrotina is made from pasteurized milk.
My little button of Goat’s Pride Chevrotina is well, cute as a button. I’m not really sure why it is sold in this format, but as it was less expensive than the log format it also came in, I went with this one. Thrift, you see. It’s pure white and covered with penicillium camemberti mould, which is correct for this type of cheese. It is a surface ripened cheese, and likely quite young. The interior is also quite white, goat’s milk tends to be albino-like. There is a spackle of tiny eyes in the interior paste. This cheese smells kind of funky, like mushrooms, and also slightly carnal, if I may be so bold. There’s just something a little naughty about it, which is surprising for such a sweet looking little button! But where’s the goat? I can’t smell that at all.
Oh, there’s the goat, it was just hiding! Little rascal. The cheese has a mushroomy taste, that’s that camembert rind, and the paste is quite toothsome. The uric acid and salt is quite understated for a camembert type cheese. In all, it’s pretty mellow. Unfortunately, I’m not crazy about this cheese, and the sad thing is, I really wanted to love it! I think it’s the texture that’s not really working for me. It’s all the rind that’s the problem. Because this is a button sized piece there is much more rind than normal, and this rind is a little tough and mealy. There’s almost no creamy paste to mix in with all that rind, so it’s not giving me a great mouth feel, really, it’s not the cheeses fault, I’m just not a rind girl. I’m not sure if this would be the case in another form, like the log. Bummer, this one is not my slice of cheese, but there are 10 cheeses in their line up, so I will be back, Goat’s Pride, that’s a promise.