Also Known As: Goat's milk cheese, goats' cheese, goat cheese or chèvre.
Goat cheese has been made for thousands of years, and was probably one of the earliest made dairy products. In the simplest form, goat cheese is made by allowing raw milk to naturally curdle, and then draining and pressing the curds. Other techniques use an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice) or rennet to coagulate the milk. Soft goat cheeses are made in kitchens all over the world, with cooks hanging bundles of cheesecloth filled with curds in the warm kitchen for several days to drain and cure. If the cheese is to be aged, it is often brined so it will form a rind, and then stored in a cool cheese cave for several months to cure.
Goat cheese softens when exposed to heat, although it does not melt in the same way many cow cheeses do. Firmer goat cheeses with rinds are sometimes baked in an oven to form a gooey, warm cheese, which is ideal for spreading on bread with roasted garlic, or alone.
Goat cheese is an ancient creation made from the milk of goats. Although it has mainly been found in Middle Eastern areas through much of history, its worldwide popularity is increasing due to its beneficial health aspects and unique flavors. The most common types are the Greek feta and the French chevre.
Texture: Varied from soft in the fresh young goat cheese, to semi-firm in the aged cheeses.
Rind: Once again this varies.A fresh Montrachet log has no rind. Aged cheeses may have a pale, straw color rind as in Gouda. Others have been covered with ash, and aged to develop a mold on the outside.
Tasting Notes: Most goat cheese has a distinctive goat flavor, although some pick up the characteristic flavoring of the variety they've been used for such as Gouda.
Wine Pairing: A fresh, young goat cheese would be accompanied well by a delicate, light, fruity red or white such as a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc.An aged goat cheese would be better with a more robust Cabernet or Zinfandel. A pungent, moldy rind goat cheese could be served with a sweet dessert wine such as a Merlot, Sauternes or Riesling.