Just when you thought it was all cow and all raw milk, (well, maybe you weren’t thinking that-but I was)- onto your screen and onto my tongue leaps the fragrant pasteurized goat cheese-Tomme Haut Richelieu.
Before I begin my daily digression-and daily digestion, I feel I should share a little more regarding my own tasting sensibilities. Although truly a cheese newb, I have spent much of my life looking for strong flavours-the raunchier and more extreme-the better. I suspect that I may possess less than the normal amount of functioning taste buds, as whatever other folks enjoy-I do seem to like even more if contains a little more: butter, garlic, sugar, mushroom, salt-whatever. Hence, some of these cheeses which I find quite mild I suspect, might not ACTUALLY be the mildest, if you catch my drift. Thus, if I suggest that a cheese is extremely strong-take this as given fact, I will never mislead you on a cheese’s strength-only on it’s weakness.
With that wee confession out of the way, I turn my eyes to this charming slice of Tomme Haut Richelieu, hailing from Quebec. Another “young” cheese, this one was created in 1988 to deal with an excess of goat’s milk at the fromagerie. In order to preserve the shelf life of this fragile resource they created a goat’s milk version of their semi-soft cow’s milk cheese Noyan. Like the rest of it’s soft rind family of cheeses, it has a light orange soft rind with the slightest cast of penicillan-like speckle, and a creamy buttery-coloured interior, containing a ripple of tiny bubbles, like the first flush of acne on the forehead of a 12 year old (but yummier, let’s hope!)
This cheese doesn’t smell goat-y, it’s extremely benign in appearance and odour, a sweet, kindly cheese smell.
Oh, but you do taste the goat. Why do all goat products always vaguely make me suspect that the goat has stepped in the milk afterwards? It’s that real barnyard taste that hits the front of your tongue immediately. The cheese is relatively firm, but melts quickly in your mouth. It is milky, and not raunchy at all-but you would be hard pressed to deny the goat origin- should you wish to do so. Although I find nothing offensive about Tomme Haut Richelieu, I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, it lacks the umami I search for in a cheese-THAT flavour, although goaty-this one falls a little flat.
I score Tomme Haut Richelieu a 3 out of 5, which includes .5 bonus for being Canadian, and .5 bonus marks for being the lone goat contender in this cow dominated field of washed rind cheese.