March 29, 2008
Celebrate Cheese: Two Goat's Milk Varieties
Coach Farm Triple Cream Wheel is a special, elegant goat's milk cheese from New York.
Raw Goat's Milk Cheddar from Ozark Hill Farm is a cheese that will please a wide audience.
Loulou, an ex-pat blogger in southern France, invited her readers to celebrate cheese for the eighth annual Journée Nationale du Fromage, the National Day of Cheese, on March 28. I had an idea to try a soft-ripened, French goat's milk cheese; after all, it was a French holiday. However, the cheese that beckoned from the assortment at Whole Foods was a tall, snow-white wheel from Coach Farm in New York. The Triple Cream Wheel is mold-ripened, with a two-toned paste that offers subtle differences in texture and flavor. I was also struck by its price tag: at $36.99/lb, it's on the upper-end of the bulk cheese market. I attribute this to the extra goat's milk that must be used to enhance the butterfat content of the cheese. A sample assured me that it was a good investment.
Triple Cream Wheel has a silky mouthfeel, with mellow herbal notes and lingering minerality. I thought that it had just the right amount of salt: if over-salted, triple-cream cheese just tastes like butter to me. The distinctive tanginess of goat's milk is balanced by the creaminess of this award-winning cheese. It's perfect for serving to company after a springtime lunch or after dinner. To accompany it, I would choose a white wine with good minerality and medium acidity, like a dry Chenin Blanc. It would also be fun to pair a fruit wine or fruit-based cocktail (e.g. kir royale) with this cheese. I suggest eating Triple Cream Wheel with a fork and knife, but if you must have crackers, choose a wheat or oat biscuit with a hint of sweetness.
To give the fête its proper respect, I also picked up a raw goat's milk Cheddar at the Brattleboro Co-op's cheese counter. It's a flavorful, versatile cheese that I would offer to goat's milk skeptics. The satisfying texture of Cheddar and a lingering sweetness make this an approachable cheese. Enjoy it with a light red wine, cider, or brown ale. This Cheddar is produced by Ozark Hill Farm in Missouri; if you cannot find it in your area, then look for Fromagerie Tournevent's version, Le Chevre Noir.
Both of these cheeses are tasty and mild, and offer delicious alternatives to the usual cow's milk varieties. Try something new, and celebrate your own cheese discoveries!