The Lady, bless her little cheese soul, handed me a list of cheeses from her kiosk that I had yet to sample and review.
She asked that I look it over and give her a written schedule of when she could expect to have reviews uploaded to the blog. Those of you who know The Lady, know how bossy she can be (think: IS) and in her lexicon “when” means “right now”…but I digress with my catty comments…
If you have read some of my goat cheese reviews, such as Hard Goat Cheddar, know that goat cheese is not among my favorites, although there are exceptions such as Cablanca Goat Gouda and Vermont Butter and Cheese Company’s Bijou. Therefore it should come as no surprise to many of you that there is no snowball’s chance in Dante’s Inferno, that I’ll be sampling a “list” of goat cheeses, even if the list did come from The Lady.
In order to please (think: appease) The Lady and to protect my taste buds, I decided to post “The List” as an informational guide for those of you foodies who are more adventurous and want to venture into the goat cheese waters.
In alphabetical order:
Banon, aka Banon de Feuilles, is a soft-ripened, French cheese from Provence (of the “herbs de Provence” fame) and is made from raw, goats’ milk. It is circular and wrapped in vinegar-dipped chestnut leaves and tied with raffia prior to shipping. It will fit in the palm of your hand. Banon is a pungent, uncooked, unpressed cheese with a soft white pate. The cheese is aged for about two weeks in an earthen jar and then seasoned with salt and pepper prior to wrapping. It can literally last for years and becomes fiercer in taste as it ages…which means I would be inclined to just toss it into the litter box and cut out the middle cat…just a guess…
Cabecous Feuilles is a small disc of fresh goat cheese that is dipped in plum brandy and sprinkled with coarse-ground fresh black pepper from the Perigord region of France. The Lady has tasted this cheese and it goes into the “not my favorite” column of cheeses but she tells me it sells like hot cakes. Like Banon, this cheese is wrapped in chestnut leaves to mature. It is smooth and creamy and pleasantly fragrant with the smell of the brandy. Each disc weighs about one ounce.
Capretta is sometimes made from a combination of both goat and cows’ milk (which might make it bearable, but I am not making any guarantees…) in the Canavese area of Piedmonte (Italy) and is aged in natural caves. When young, this cheese is moist and open; as it ages it becomes dense and rich. The Sweet Flavor is accented by the bracing flavor of the Bay Laurel Leaf that usually adorns the top of this cheese.
The Lady sells a lot of this cheese at the kiosk. It is similar in texture and consistency to Brie. Because it is made by Fromagerie Guilloteau, it feels and tastes as rich as a Triple Crème due to the use of “ultrafiltration”, a process that removes water from the milk before the cheesemaking process begins. It is especially soft and creamy at room temperature and retains these characteristics as it ripens and matures.
Gjetost, which means “brown cheese” in Norwegian, is a (surprise!!) brown whey goats’ cheese from Norway. It has a strong, sweet sharp flavor with notes of caramel. It is very popular as a breakfast spread on toast. It is also used in game sauces for more exotic meats such as elk and reindeer (Holy Smoke, they’re eating Rudolph in Norway…tsk…tsk…I bet he tastes like chicken…)
Soignon Chevrion Buche:
Vegetarian – Suitable Cheese
Again, The Lady tells me this is a very popular cheese at her kiosk. She sells 5-7 logs of this cheese every week. Buche is made in the traditional log shape with a delicate white penicillium mold rind. It ripens from the outside toward the center with a rich, creamy flavor. The outside is creamier and the center is more of a pate. The outside tastes goatier than the center. Hmmm…wonder why The Lady hasn’t brought this cheese home…
This cheese is a smaller version of the Buche above with more citrus flavors that intensify with age.
This pyramid shaped cheese is made in the Loire Valley of France and when young has citrus overtones and develops a nuttier taste as it matures. Lore has it that Napoleon, returning from a tough campaign in Egypt, stopped in the City of Valencay and when he saw this pyramid-shaped cheese, he took out his sword and chopped off the top. To this day, the cheese is made with a flat top. Now that’s my kind of man…
Again, these are cheeses that I have not tasted and have absolutely no plans to sample them in the near or far future…nada…zip…not gonna happen…but if you like goat cheese, you probably will want to try one or more of these…