Cheese 102-St. Marcellin


Teenagers are strange.  They are always demanding you buy them things: cell phones, ski passes, and Saint Marcellin Cheese. Well, my teenager, anyway.  My daughter is 15 years old, last September she went to France for a two week school trip, and came back a turophile-so it was money well spent.  She mostly stayed near Lyon, and came back with tales of the cheese, the beautiful, ubiquitous, fabulous cheese.  Her host family had its OWN CHEESE FRIDGE.  Yes, that’s right, such a thing exists, because who wants to keep their cheese at the wrong temperature?  That’s just gauche.  There were two cheeses my daughter couldn’t stop talking about, Beaufort, which I have already reviewed and loved- a delicious mountain cheese from Alberville, but there was also this mysterious little cheese, Saint Marcellin.  I say mysterious, as she didn’t get the name down- and it’s taken quite a bit of sleuthing and furtive half french facebook chats with her host family to get it right.

Apparently, Saint Marcellin is ubiquitous in Lyon and cheap, which is more than I can say for Saint Marcellin here in Canada.  My tiny little crock of cheese was about 10$ which is just a crock, if you ask me.  According to my daughter the same cheese costs about 1 dollar in France, which is patently unfair.

Saint Marcellin  is a soft bloomy rind French cheese made from cow’s milk. It looks like it can be made with raw milk, but is mostly pasteurized.  My little crock doesn’t say either way, so it’s another mystery.  It’s named after the small town of Saint Marcellin, and it is produced in a geographical area corresponding to the  Rhone Alpes region of France.  Saint Marcellin is not an AOC protected cheese, and can thus be made anywhere.  But it doesn’t look like there’s any Saint Marcellin fakery, so it probably is the real thing if it says it is.  There is grumbling on the interweb about this cheese achieving AOC status, so perhaps that is coming for this little cheese.

I say little cheese as Saint Marcellin is generally small in size, about the size of the palm of a small hand. Nowadays, Saint Marcellin is made from cow’s milk, but this is quite an ancient cheese.  In the 13th century the cheese was made exclusively from goat’s milk from the the goats that used to live on the side of the roads in the Dauphiné area, as they disappeared the cheese gradually became made with cows’ milk.

There’s a great legend with this cheese-and I l do LOVE a cheese legend…in 1445, Louis the 11th,  the governor of Dauphiné, was separated from his hunting party and fell off his horse. To make matters worse,he  was then attacked by a bear.  He was saved by two lumberjacks who lived in the region. They accompanied the future king, and made him taste some of their  Saint-Marcellin. He was so overwhelmed with the joy of escaping the bear, as well as the yumminess of the cheese that he brought the cheese to the royal court where it became a little celebrity.

After Saint Marcellin is made it is generously salted on both faces, and left for 1-2 months to mature. The cheese is often sold in little crocks (like mine) as it tends to get very goopy when it matures, and it would ooze everywhere, though it is occasionally sold with a chestnut-leaf wrapping.

My little hideously expensive crock of Saint Marcellin has been attacked by a teenager, similar to a bear attacking a sovereign.  Luckily I was able to snap a photo before the real damage was done.  It’s a pretty little cheese, which oozes with a pleasing unctuousness when cut.  It reminds me a little of Vacherin Mont d’or with is sticky wetness. It’s very creamy and floppy when you remove it from its crock. It smells quite barnyardy, even a little goat like-even though its supposed to be cow.  That’s interesting. It’s quite a pungent little cheese for a bloomy rind- it’s acting more like a washed rind.

Here goes…

Hmmmm, it’s astringent in a lemony sort of way, and also divinely creamy and unctuous.  It’s a salty, complex and mushroomy, flavor, like a really ripe brie. There’s a strong hint of foot taste too, but against a backdrop of lemon.  My daughter claims it “didn’t taste like that in France” and distinctly remembers it being less raunchy and sticky.  My guess is that my version has aged quite a bit longer than the ones she was hoovering down in Lyon. I do like this cheese, but I find the cost prohibitive, it would be great to find a local version-hey BC cheesemakers, this one isn’t AOC so go for it!

Advertisements

Cheese 101-Gjetost


Welcome back, turophiles!

It’s been 10 days off.  As promised, the cheese and I have returned.

I have been wanting to review today’s cheese, Gjetost since the beginning of the blog, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Imagine my surprise to run into it at my local IGA store, of all places.  It just goes to show that you really have to look carefully at your local store’s cheese. You might find something special hiding!

I first had Gjetost three years ago while traveling in Iceland, and there’s a bit of a story here.  I was in a tourist store called “the Viking.” The proprietor was chiding me for being a tacky tourist.  Feeling injured I informed him that I actually was an Icelander, by heritage.  To this he responded, “oh, so you think you are Viking?  Then come with me.”  and he led me through the back of his store and onto a small deck in the alley.  Yes, this was stupid of me. When we were alone on the deck he pulled a massive knife out of some hidden place in his body and pointed up.  A large, toddler sized hunk of dark purple meat hanged from a hook, swaying in the breeze above my head.  It smelled a little fishy. Literally.  The man reached up and cut a slice of this hideous looking meat and handed it to me, “if you are Viking, you need to eat this, it’s in your blood.” He menaced.  Yes, it was whale.  Minke whale.  Shudder! What could I do?  He had a knife.  But more importantly, he was questioning my legitimacy!  I ate the slice, it was chewy and kind of raw.  It was hideous and my stomach roiled with guilt.  But I had to, you understand?  It was cultural.

Where is the cheese in this story?  Well, the next day I returned to the store.  The same man was eating a large plate of crackers.  On each cracker was a slice of brown stuff that looked like peanut butter, and on top of this was a slice of whale.  “You have to try it this way”  He proclaimed” “Everyone loves this cheese in Iceland.”  The food gauntlet being thrown down again I had no choice and tried this concoction.  I don’t know if it was the whale or the cheese-(which I later discovered was Gjetost) but it was truly hideous, one of the most horrifying taste combinations of my life. Think of sweet, fishy peanut butter cheese cracker, with an extra serving of bad karma.

Thus, of course, I have been searching for this cheese ever since. Gjetost is Norwegian for goat’s cheese, pronounced “yay-toast.” It was customary throughout Norway to boil whey to “prim” – a soft, sweet, brown cheese made from goat or cow’s milk. Anne Hov, a farmer’s wife, was the first person add cream into the kettle of prim making a full “fat cheese” she called Gjetost, Apparently by adding the cream Anne got a higher price than her regular prim and she is reputed to have saved the Gudbrandsdal valley from financial ruin in the 1880’s through the invention of this cheese.

Gjetost is actually not technically a cheese per se, as it is made from whey, not curds.  This puts it into the same category as ricotta and mizithra and other whey “cheeses.” Gjetost is sold in Canada under the name of “Ski Queen” and is made by the Norwegian giant, TINE, which I recently discussed in my review of Jarlsberg cheese.

Gjetost is extremely popular in Scandinavia and is typically eaten cut into thin wafers and on toast with different sides, fruit, vegetables, or-apparently-whale. Gjetost is also used in fondue. Gjetost’s unique colour and taste are the product of the natural caramelization of the sugar in milk (lactose) that occurs during the cheese’s production process. Gjetost is made by boiling a mixture of milk, cream and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel. Once evaporated to the proper consistency, Gjetost is molded into blocks. As Gjetost isn’t really cheese, it doesn’t need any aging, it’s ready to eat when it’s made, although it will keep for up to a year.

My chunk of Gjetost looks more like maple fudge than peanut butter.  It’s a caramel brown and well, fudgey looking cheese.  The colour is uniform through the paste, and there is no rind.  The smell is quite mild, if there’s goat there I can’t tell, and that’s a first.  It smells faintly of barn but you really have to get up close for that.

Here goes…

OMG this is weird! It’s basically candy fudge in a goat cheese form.  It doesn’t just look like fudge, it IS fudge.  I know I have said that some cheeses are sweet before-but this one is actually SWEET, like as sweet as candy sweet.  No kidding. Then there’s that chewy fudgey texture, and yes, a little kick of goat at the end. It’s like eating goat candy. I actually don’t know what in the world this is. It’s totally fascinating and repugnant, yet appealing simultaneously.  I definitely recommend it without the whale-this one seems much more palatable.  Wow, I’m really blown away by this cheese, I can see how it could become a strange little habit.

Gjetost, you are freaking me out-you might just be my slice of cheese, after all.

Day 100-Le Cendrillon

I have good news, and I have bad news.  The bad news is, it’s over.  I have completed my goal of tasting and writing about a new cheese every day for 100 days.  I have not missed one single day.  I have pushed on through head colds, sore necks, self doubt and worse of all, a broken fridge.  The good news is, it’s not over for me with cheese.  Nor is it over for this blog. I still do plan to keep trying new cheeses, and writing about them here.  It’s not going to be as dogmatic-perhaps once a week, perhaps not, we shall see.  I suggest you press the “follow” button on the right hand side under “follow blog via email“if you don’t want to miss future posts.  That will send them directly to you, as I am making no promises  about how regularly they will appear, just that they will.

If you can imagine, I have given some soul-searching into what my last official cheese should be, cheese number 100.  I wanted it to be a special cheese, and a Canadian cheese.  If you have been following this journey, I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that I also wanted it to be a goat’s cheese!  Thus, I am thrilled to have found a cheese that fits all three: it’s Le Cendrillon, a goat’s cheese from Quebec (of course) that is a special cheese.  In fact, it’s so special that it has been declared the WORLD CHAMPION OF CHEESE.  Yes, that’s right THE world champion.

Le Cendrillon-is a reference to the eponymous Cinderella-based opera by Charles Perrault.  Just like a fairy tale, this cheese is invented by the fictitious Alexis de Portneuf, the Betty Crocker of the cheese world.  I touched on the confusion regarding who in the world is Alexis de Portneuf  a couple of posts back when I reviewed his terrific cheese, Paillot de Chevre.  It looks like there really isn’t a Alexis de Portneuf, after all!  He is a marketing creation. Sigh. The real man behind the curtain is Louis Aird, a member of the French cheese fraternity, Confrérie du Taste Fromage de France.  Aird was brought on to develop new cheeses with that artisan-like feel.

Marketing issues aside, this cheese was created in 2005 when Louis Aird got the idea to try making a cheese in the shape of a pyramid. This proved challenging as the centre gets hard with age, so the adjustment was made to that of a long  and flat-topped pyramid.The first moulds for the cheese were made by hand. The cheese makers discovered that this longer,flattened pyramid would ripen faster and more evenly maintain a softer centre. The ash on the rind gives the cheese balance and is a traditional rind for an aged goat’s milk cheese. I’m thinking it’s pasteurized, but don’t quote me on that, most factory made cheese is.

Le Cendrillon was voted the best cheese in the world at the World Cheese Awards in 2009, beating out 2,440 entries from 34 countries as the overall winner in all categories.  It’s the first time a Canadian cheese maker has taken this award, and is a really big deal.  I mean, it’s the best cheese in the world! So really, who cares who Alexis de Portneuf is or isn’t, he’s as Canadian as Santa Claus.

My piece of Le Cendrillon  came in its own little box, I don’t think you can buy this one by the chunk, but it was strangely affordable in comparison to other cheeses I have sampled.  It really is a weird-looking cheese.  It’s a long flat black ash covered pyramid, dappled with mould.  When you cut into it you see an interesting phenomenon that I noticed with Paillot de Chevre, it’s like there are two parts to the interior paste: the outer ring, which is soft and creamy, and the interior core, which is harder and flaky. The black ash makes a good contrast to this two ringed interior, it really is a little show stopper.  Le Cendrillon is quite…um, goaty in essence.  There’s no doubt as to the milk derivation of this one.

Here goes…

Wow.  Um. Wow.  This is freaking amazing. It’s extremely complex.  It’s throwing all sorts of tastes at me at once. First, hello Mrs. Goat!  There’s a strong eau de farm in this one, but I like that.  It’s then  a little astringent, but also salty.  Then there’s that strange spiciness at the back of my throat.  The double texture interior is also playing with my mind.  The exterior ring is sweet and creamy, but that middle core is lemony and chalky.  I like it, I really do, but I’m not sure about the Best Cheese in the World thing, I actually preferred  Paillot de Chevre by the same maker, or of course, St Maure de Tourraine AOC, another ash covered goat’s milk cheese. However, this one is affordable and available and made from goat, so yes, little Cendrillon-you too are my slice of cheese!

Day 99-Island Brie

I have been waiting a long time to review anything by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.  This fromagerie has been on my radar for a long time, and are fully deserving of the penultimate spot in my blog, due to their overall radness. Little Qualicum is a family-owned business on Vancouver Island based on the family farm, Morningstar.

Clarke and Nancy Gourlay returned to Canada from Switzerland in 1999, where they had been living for several years. Inspired by the cheeses there, they set out to learn and practice their own interpretation of cheese making in Canada, like any sane person would do.  They found the climate on  Vancouver Island ideal for the ripening of washed-rind cheeses, and thus, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks was created. They began milking cows and making cheese in 2001, and three years later moved to Morningstar Farm.  They have opened their farm and animals to the public ever since.

Morningstar farm has its own herd of Holstein, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, and Canadienne dairy cows. So they are clearly not cow reed purists, but I’m down with that.  Diversity is where it’s at. Their cheese is made only from their own milk, no cheating, and the milk all comes from the farm on which the cheese is made. Morningstar was the first dairy farm in British Columbia to be certified by the SPCA, and I don’t really know what that entails, but it does sound good to me.  I’m going eat this cheese, bad karma free.

Like all the coolest farms, Morningstar offers tours and has its own store.  You can watch the cheesemakers in action (blessed are the cheesemakers).There’s a self guided tour and people are welcome to stay and picnic.  Why do I not live closer? If you can’t make it there, at least go check out their website which is totally over the top and very well done, in fact, this website is the best of the 99 I have reviewed.  Bravo, to whomever pulled this one together, this is how it’s done, folks: www.cheeseworks.ca .

There are three generations working Morningstar farm. Clarke and Nancy Gourlay are the owners.  Nancy oversees the cheese making and packaging. Clarke is in charge of the farm and animals. They live with their boys on the farm who also work.  Nancy’s mom and dad have both helped in sales, and Clarke’s folks have also pitched in.

Little Qualicum, which is about half way up Vancouver Island, currently has a line of 16 cheeses which can be found for sale at many stores across BC. Today’s cheese is their Island Brie Cheese which is their best seller!  It’s a traditional brie made of pasteurized cow’s milk which is perched on a little wooden board, rescued from the burn pile of a local guitar manufacturer. Island Brie beat out competitors from all across Canada this year to take the top spot for Brie at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix!

My pretty round of Island brie has been been sliced in anticipation of meeting me on a more personal level.It’s a medium sized brie cheese with a white bloomy rind and a creamy interior paste.  I am a little concerned though, as I have checked it’s best before date, and this cheeese is virtually an infant, it’s a good month off from best before.  If I have learned one thing, it’s that I like my brie ripe, and this one isn’t.  Letting a bloomy rind cheese ripen will allow the interior paste to become gooey and oozy, which I adore! A fresh brie will be more tart and chalky, and that’s just not my thing.This brie is behaving a little too much, there’s no oozing, and it’s got me worried.

Here goes…

Mmmmm, oh, but it is good!  It’s true, I wish I had let this little darling ripen up a little, it’s a tad on the dry and firm and lemony side of the brie spectrum for me, but that’s not really fair, I suspect there are great changes awaiting this little cheese over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, it is a tasty cheese, there’s a good balance of sweet, salt and lemon, also a faint mushroom in the rind, but no ammonia for this cheese, and I think that’s a first in a brie for me!  The texture is just a little firm, but again that’s the age, it’s pliant and slightly chewy, it’s not melting everywhere, it’s really quite well behaved.  Tell you what, Island Brie, it’s back in the fridge for you, let’s talk in a month, I suspect you are really my slice of cheese.

 

Day 98-Blue Juliette

Back to Saltspring Island today.  I previously reviewed Blossom’s Blue, a blue cow’s milk cheese by the Moonstruck cheese company from Saltspring Island.  Today’s cheese is Blue Juliette by the Saltspring Island Cheese company that specialize in Goat’s cheese. Likely you, like me, are thinking “how is this fair that a tiny little island has two of its own cheese companies?” It isn’t fair, it’s just mean! But there’s Saltspring Island for you, everything good, all in one place.

Saltspring Island Cheese Company is owned and run by David and Nancy Wood. Saltspring Island Cheese makes handmade goat and sheep cheeses, and has been making cheese since 1994, and selling  since 1996 (and I’m thinking that was a fun two years of eating cheese in between). Although mostly known for their chevres they also make several other types of goat cheeses, all on their farm on Salt Spring Island.

Each Saturday, from March through October, the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market flourishes with hippies catering to yuppies and all manner of sumptuous yummies including these cheeses, it’s where they got their start.  Saltspring Island Cheese welcomes visitors to wander around the farm, see the animals and enjoy the scenery. You can watch the cheese being made through their viewing windows and take a self-guided tour through the cheesemaking process.  It’s almost enough to make me want to go. Almost.

Blue Juliette, is a blue version of their Juliette cheese, a simple goat’s milk camembert similar to the Chevrotina we just sampled from Abbotsford.  It looks like goat’s milk Camembert is all the rage these days, and I’m just so goat-positive, I have to applaud.  Blue Juliette differs though, in that this one is blue with is a blue mould rind.  It is made of pasteurized cheese and thus, should be safe for the pregnant but I’m not sure about the moulds.  Actually, maybe I would eat something tamer if I were pregnant.  At least Listeria shouldn’t be an issue with this cheese, let’s leave it at that.  This cheese looks very, um, alive.

Blue Juliette has a bloomy edible mould rind but is also laced with a blue-green mould, giving the exterior a distinctive appearance which is actually kind of hideous and zombie-like. This cheese is not pierced like a Stilton, the mould is introduced externally, so that mould should stay on the outside of the cheese.  As Blue Juliette is essentially a camembert, it is not aged long. Blue Juliette  is made with half  blue and half white mould!  Yummy!  Add a little penicillium roqueforti into your penicillium camembertii and throw in a little goat and a gulf island, and this is what happens.  Blue Juliette is produced using local,  goat’s milk that is purchased from farms in and around the Salt Spring Island area.

This cheese is a little show stopper.  It was served at the G20  as part the main meal for the assembled world leaders.  Um, wow!  Go SSI!

My little wet wedge of Saltspring Island Cheese Company Blue Juliette is just on its best before date, which, as I hope we have all learned, is the best time to eat a surface ripened cheese. Go and buy those marked down bries!  See it as saying “best on” date, not best before. It’s a little frightening to behold, it’s the wettest cheese I have dealt with, it almost fell apart while I was cutting it. The interior is extremely unctuous and creamy looking.  The mould is on the rind only, not into the paste. It smells faintly of goat, and also faintly of carnal thoughts.

Here goes…

Oh wow, FAR OUT! (as they say on Saltspring)  This cheese is the freaking bomb!  It’s everything at once.  It’s goaty! It’s a ripe camembert! No, it’s a blue cheese!  It’s salty and melted and strong and mild.  Holy Hannah.  Now this is a cheese. The texture is completely over the top crazy good.  It’s not just gooey, it’s wet, the cheese clings and cloys to the inside of your mouth.  It’s begging me to spread it on something, but I am a purist, and thus am resisting.  This is definitely not a starter cheese, I think this one would just about kill my husband, but to each their own.  I think we have a winner here, and I shall be back.  Blue Juliette, you are certainly my slice of cheese!

 

Day 97-Rondoux Double Creme


As I round out my 100 day journey into cheese, it’s important to remember that not everyone has access to cheese shops in a big city.  Although in theory there are hundreds of cheeses available in Canada-in practice, cheese selection can be quite limited, especially if you live in a small town.  That’s why I was so thrilled to discover the joy of Woolrich Dairy goat brie, and Oka cheese.  Both of these are produced in factories and are widely available, but both totally rock my world.  Cheese can be extremely expensive, especially if it has to be shipped across an ocean to get here, so I really am open to local cheese.  With this is mind I am sampling my last commercially produced Canadian cheese.  This one is called Rondoux Double Creme, and it is produced by the cheese giant Agropur in-where else? Quebec.

The name Agropur may be familiar to readers of this blog, as I discussed it previously in my review of Oka cheese.  Agropur is a large Quebec cooperative that has been making cheese and dairy products since 1937. The Société coopérative agricole du Canton de Granby, eventually became the Agropur cooperative in 2000. It is composed of 86 producers from Granby and the surrounding area.  Agropur is bucking the trend of locally operated cooperatives. It’s influence has spread across Quebec and Canada. Agropur includes brands such as Yoplait, Olympia, and Island Farms. Agropur is ubiquitous.

I have noticed today’s cheese for at least a year at the supermarket. Rondoux Double Creme and it’s Rondoux siblings are all sold in adorable little round wooden boxes, and I am a sucker for good marketing.  By my reckoning, Rondoux is a brie cheese in all but name.  Interestingly, Agropur doesn’t use the “B” word in any of its promotional material for this cheese.  In fact, there is virtually no promotional material for Rondoux Double Creme at all, despite the fact that I see its little wooden box just about everywhere.  This is a little strange, don’t you think?

As I have mentioned, I am a sucker for marketing.  The instructions on the back of the wooden box state that you can do your own home affinage, (ok, they don’t use that phrase, this is just me).  According to the instructions, this cheese is “young” 40 days before the best before date, and is thus “soft and slightly tart,” it is “semi-ripened” 25 days before the best before date and  “mild and velvety,”  and it is “fully ripened” right before the best before date and “rich and creamy.”  That’s kind of cool. My sample today is almost smack on the best before date. I never before knew this was something to aim for in a cheese.

I don’t know much about the production of Rondoux Double Creme as no one is talking, and I hate that.  As it’s a brie, it’s a young cheese, helped along by some friendly moulds.  It’s made from cow’s milk that is pasteurized.  This cheese is made in the Corneville cheesemaking factory. As this one is a Double Creme, creme is added to the cheese to make it richer, there’s also a triple creme variety out there, but I am trying to finish this blog without getting overly fat, so no thanks. Interestingly, despite the fact that no one seems to be talking about Rondoux Double Creme, this little darling is a rock star!  Rondoux Double Creme WON the 2011 American Cheese society in the SOFT RIPENED CHEESES.  That’s pretty freaking fantastic, I don’t know why Agropur isn’t screaming this from the tops of the mountains, I certainly would if this were my cheese.

My little wedge of  Rondoux is simpering quietly beside me.  It’s an unassuming little cheese.  When I cut into it my knife stuck into the interior and a little bit oozed out. This is a good sign!  There is a white bloomy rind of mould, edible-of course, and a creamy-looking interior with a few small eyes.  The very middle has turned to goo. It smells mildly of mushrooms and toes.

Here goes…

Ahhh.  Freaking fabulous!  Really, this cheese totally rocks!  It’s absolutely divine in flavour, the mushroomy paste matches the creamy, salty and slightly sweet interior. There is a hint of ammonia, but it’s kept in check by a harmonious balance of salt, sweet and unctuous joy.  The texture is great.  The gooey middle is exactly as I hoped: sticky, cloying, melting, sensual-it’s making sweet  love to my tongue and teeth.  Wow, I can’t believe this cheese is this good. I heartily recommend this one if you are looking for a fabulous and affordable little brie from Canada, you can’t go wrong.  This one is definitely, my slice of cheese.

Day 96-Chevrotina


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.

Here goes…

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.