May 6, 2009

La Fête du Fromage - Chèvre Frais

Our local market boasts a hairy, wild looking guy who shows up in his battered van every week selling locally made chèvre and fresh eggs. He is actually very sweet and approachable, and yesterday gave me an extra piece of cheese as un petit cadeau. Needless to say, I'm enamored.

His little buttons of goat cheese are sold in four stages of affinage;
, mi-frais, mi-sec
and sec. Over the last year I have tasted the frais and the mi-sec, so this week I decided to bring home one of each and do a little taste test.

The plump, snowy white chèvre frais is fresh, milky and tangy tasting. Fresh as in green grasses and tangy as in sour and citrusy. Its texture is fluffy and light, and it crumbles rather than slices when cut into.
This is the kind of chèvre that deserves to be drizzled with honey or served with a spoonful of fruit confiture. I can also imagine it spread thickly on a slice of rustic olive bread.

The chèvre mi-frais is also crumbly and is the tiniest bit chalky. Surprisingly, it is the mildest of the four. Its tangy and sour flavors are much more mellow than the chèvre frais and there is no hint of goatiness. It has a wonderful, rich mouthfeel and a sweet, milky flavor.

My favorite of the four is the chèvre mi-sec. It is the essence of a perfectly ripened, well balanced fermier goat cheese. It is very finely textured and quite chalky and the flavor starts out delicate and soft, then opens up into a rich, mildly salty and perfectly "goaty" goat cheese.

The most mature, smallest and wrinkliest of the four, chèvre sec, was my least favorite. It seemed too sour and ripe and overly infused with barnyard, goat flavors. The hints of mushroom and herbs were nice, but the other flavors took over. This cheese is buttery smooth and dense and I'm sure it has some fans. Just not me.

Along with the cheese taste test, I did a wine pairing taste test. Neither the Minervois red nor rosé worked with any of these chèvres. But the Vin de Pays d'Oc white from our local co-op, les Trois Blasons, was fantastic!

Just a reminder: Join me for the 8th Fête du Fromage International Cheese Tasting Event in May, please have your entries to me by May 13. I'll post the round-up on May 15.

Tell us why you chose this particular cheese. Tell us how it tasted. Tell us about its texture and aroma. Did you eat it on its own? Or with something? Did you drink anything special with your cheese? Would you recommend it or not? Is there something unusual or interesting about it?
  • Photos are wonderful, but not necessary
  • Entries must contain the words La Fête du Fromage and contain a link to Chez Loulou
  • Posts should be written specifically for La Fête du Fromage and not entered in any other food blog event
  • Please send the link to your post to louloufrance (at) gmail (dot) com with the words Fête du Fromage in the subject line
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