I have been trying to focus on smaller cheese companies for this blog, but today I am going to break with this tradition to sample a cheese from the goat’s-milk cheese giant, Woolrich. I have never sampled Woolrich before today, but their happy little goat emblem greats me everywhere I go to look at cheese. They have complete goat cheese saturation in Canada being Canada’s leading largest goat cheese producer. Just because something is really successful, doesn’t mean it’s not great, right?
Woolrich was established in 1983 and is still family-owned and operated. The company’s owners and founders, Tony and Olga Dutra, decided to focus on goat cheese only. Tony’s mother, Adozinda, supplied goat cheese to her village in Portugal. When she immigrated to Ontario she bought a small goat farm and began making her goat cheese for friends and family. The Dutras got the clever idea to package the family recipe and sell it to the public, and so it began. In 1989, the Dutras purchased the pre-existing Woolwich Dairy and expanded it into the goat world. Today Woolwich Dairy has several cheeses for sale including today’s Goat Brie.
Woolwich Dairy’s head office is in Orangeville, Ontario. Their massive production facility includes a viewing gallery where people can watch their goat cheese being made. Milk for their cheese comes from over 200 Ontario goat farmers. Their Quebec location, known as Fromagerie Madame Chèvre is a designated surface ripened cheese manufacturing facility. I’m guessing today’s Brie was made there, but I really have no idea.
Woolwich Dairy Goat Brie has the same soft, white “Fleuri” mold on the outside as other Bries. It’s a multiple award winner including second place at the 2005 American Cheese Society awards. This cheese is made from pasteurized goat’s milk, and is thus, safe for pregnant ladies with a hankering for goat brie. Despite a snazzy website, Woolrich is pretty quiet about the actual production of this cheese. However, all brie is aged for about 4 weeks. All brie has-shockingly-a lower fat content than most hard cheeses, and all brie has a rind of mould. I think it’s safe to say that it is an industrially produced, pasteurized goat cheese from Canada. Let’s leave it at that.
I kind of find it funny how many people will refuse to eat a blue cheese, but are just all over a brie. Brie is about the moldiest type of cheese one can enjoy- but it’s a fluffy white mold…it’s a rind, right? Actually, that rind is a charming combination of at least two moulds, penicillium camemberti and penicillium candidum. Brie is really a living and breathing entity, when it oozes and sticks, it’s telling you that it is alive! Many cheese lovers wait to eat it right at the best before date, as it’s most…um, alive at this point. As it ages it will release ammonia which some find delightful, others- not so much.
My little wedge of Woolrich goat Brie has been waiting patiently for me. It is quietly moulding away, developing its rind. Under the rind I can see that the cheese is ever so slightly more liquid looking, which is a good sign. Look for liquid under the rind of a brie- my friends, you will be happier this way. It’s a very white cheese. Brie rind normally is, but coupled with the whiter than white of goat’s milk, this one is practically an albino. The smell is mild, perhaps a little reminiscent of goat and urine- but in the best way possible.
Mmmmmm. I like it! The goat is really dialled down here, it’s a light salty and toothsome little snack. The interior paste is really mild-add the rind in-which you MUST, don’t ever throw away brie rind, that’s a sin-and you suddenly get that mushrooms, earth, goat-pee deliciousness all wrapped up in one. Why doesn’t everyone do brie this way? I much prefer it to cow brie which I find a little insipid. This gives a much-needed injection into brie. My only complaint would be the texture, which is not as sticky as I would like. It’s just a little on the foamy side, but this may have something to do with the fact that I have just hoovered it down straight from the fridge, a sin akin to not eating rind. I couldn’t wait for it to warm up properly…forgive me! The great thing about this cheese is it’s also kind of cheap, and I got it at my local market, no special cheese shop trips were needed. Nice job, Woolwich Dairy!