Goat Cheeses

Cheeses made from goat's milk are produced in dozens of varieties in France, where this type of cheese,called chèvre (shev r', or shev), is very popular. It has also become well known in the United States, which now has several producers.With a few exceptions, most goat cheeses are small, ranging in size from tiny buttons to logs, cakes, cones, and pyramids weighing up to 5 or 6 ounces (140 to 170 g).

Fresh,unaged chèvres are the most popular and the mildest in flavor. Their paste is very white, with a soft but interestingly dry texture.They have a distinctive peppery, slightly acidic taste.The most widely available fresh French chèvre is probably the cylindrical Montrachet, either plain or with a coating of ash. Other fresh goat cheeses, both domestic and imported, may be available in different localities, and many have no name other than chèvre.

As goat cheese ages, it becomes firmer, and the peppery, acidic flavor becomes stronger. Cheeses two or three months old can be quite powerful, while the youngest might taste almost like the unaged ones. Some names of chèvres are Boucheron, Banon (wrapped in chestnut leaves), Pyramide, Crottin de Chavignol, Chabis, and Roca-madour. Saint-Marcellin is made of part goat s milk and part cow s milk. Shaped into small disks, it softens rather than hardens as it ripens.

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