If you haven’t had chèvre, you’re missing out. Chèvre is the French word for goat, and it’s the spreadable kind of tart cheese that tastes wonderful on toasted bread, baguette or bagel. Drizzle a little honey over it, and now we’re talking.
The versatile goat cheese can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an hors d’oeuvres. It’s a great alternative to cream cheese if you want to add a bit more earthy depth to your morning bagel.
A little goat story
Since I always like to understand what I’m eating, I researched this French staple. The artisanal cheese making process has been around for thousands of years. France is the #1 producer of (pure) goat cheese with over 3,000 goat cheese producers.
Did you know goats produce cheese 7-8 months in a year? This is different from cows, which can be milked year-round. Goat’s milk is therefore in season during the months of March through July. Goat cheese has a short aging process of a few days to a few weeks.
If aged for a few days to one-week, the milky goat cheese is similar in character to that of cream cheese. If the cheese is aged 2 weeks or longer, then you’ve unlocked a more intense taste with a crumbly texture and a yellower color. You’ll often find chèvre in a cylindrical form.
The process of making chèvre involves the coagulation of milk, solid cheese curds are drained through a cloth, the curds are poured into molds, later drained and dried, salted, and then left at a controlled temperature to age the cheese.
Cheese that doesn’t quite melt
An interesting fact. Chèvre will go soft, but it will not completely melt when heated. This is something you may notice when making flat bread pizza with goat cheese.
Better for lactose sensitivities
Goat cheese is easier to digest. Goat’s milk is lower in lactose compared to cow’s milk, and more importantly goat’s milk is naturally homogenized and has smaller fat globules vs. cow’s milk. This aids in easier digestion, especially if you have some sensitivity to lactose.
Fancy up Breakfast or Brunch
You can buy classic chèvre at most any grocery store, and you’ll find different variations of goat cheese like the offerings from Vermont Creamery, ranging from honey, blueberry lemon thyme, and pepper jelly to herb de provence, peppercorn, and cranberry orange cinnamon.
If you want to make a gorgeous little meal, it takes no time at all. You can accompany your cheese on toast with a mixed green salad. For brunch or lunch, pair it with a glass of sparkling wine or rosé.
Note: For gluten sensitivities, I highly recommend Vermont-based Against the Grain baguette, or the more readily available Udi’s Delicious Soft sliced bread.
Toast with cheese and raw honey
Spread goat cheese on toast, and take a tablespoon of raw honey and drizzle over the top.
Toast with tomatoes and fresh basil
Take sliced artisanal bread and toast. Spread a generous layer of goat cheese and layer on slices of tomato and chopped fresh basil.
Toast with fresh fruit
Chop up fresh fruit from your local farmer’s market. Layer on the goat cheese and top it all off with berries and tart apples.
Toast with beets and oranges
Earthy beets and citrus orange segments pair well together when layered over goat cheese on toast.
Smashed avocado and cheese
Take a ripe avocado, and smash it up with a fork. Spread it first on the toast and then crumble some goat cheese over the top. Toss a handful of red pepper flakes, crack some sea salt, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil.
If you have other chèvre toast making suggestions, please share in comments.