Happy National Goat Cheese Month! We’re bringing back “Local Goat Week” here at Cheese and Champagne, so check in all week for some of our favorite local goat cheeses. Coincidentally, over on Twitter some bloggers have launched an event to celebrate all things goat, Goaterie. Bloggers are sharing recipes using goat meat, milk or cheese — inspired in part by the new book, Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. My affection for goats is well-documented, but I typically stick with the cheese. Of course, statistically- (and biologically-) speaking, not every kid grows up to be a dairy goat. It turns out that goat is the world’s most widely consumed meat source, more sustainable and leaner than beef.
When I first heard of the book, I envisioned a three-course goat feast — but Madame Fromage beat me to it. There’s plenty of goat love to go around, so I put together a goat-cheese tasting and followed that up with grilled goat kabobs. (Next up: a chevre dessert.)
Today’s goat cheese tasting was a trio that included an herbed fresh chevre, a bloomy-rind, and a semi-hard aged goat/cow blend. If you want to go all out, add a goats-milk blue, like the Carr Valley Billy Blue. (I find a mixed-milk cheese a good way to accommodate goat-cheese skeptics — and today’s didn’t disappoint.)
- Cypress Grove‘s Purple Haze likely needs no introduction: it’s a luscious fresh Californian chevre with an herb blend that includes lavender and fennel pollen. I usually loathe lavender in food, but make an exception here.
- The bloomy-rind selection is local Cherry Glen Monocacy Gold, from Maryland. They can be found at area farmers markets and cheese shops (including local Whole Foods), but this particular wedge was selected by my nearly-five-year-old at the Reston Farmers Market, after a careful tasting of their product line. (So proud.)
- And finally, the Beekman 1802 Blaak. Yes, the cheese endorsed-by-Gwyneth, that comes with a waiting list and top-secret ordering instructions when your number is selected. This dense, 60-day-aged raw milk goat/cow cheese was a treat, mellow but with the vegetal earthiness imparted by the black ash rind. If you can’t wait to get your goat-party started, look for the more readily-available Carr Valley Cardonas (Cocoa Cardona is always popular) or, in the mid-Atlantic, Cherry Glen’s Cabra la Mancha.
Along with the cheeses, we sampled Tart Cherry Preserves and Virginian honey-roasted peanuts. To drink, a Virginia viognier (more on that Wednesday) and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid.
This post is being shared with the Goaterie event hosted by Creative Culinary and La Fuji Mama. Visit FoodieTots for the second course: Middle Eastern Grilled Goat Kabobs. If you’re curious about cooking with goat meat, check out Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.