Today’s Cheese is Bleu de Chèvre

This is a cheese so authentic that it doesn’t have a fancy name.  Just Bleu de Chèvre, or Blue Goat’s Cheese for a direct translation.  It is made in Boissy-Saint-Léger, a commune to the south east of Paris and, to add to its rarity, it’s a fermier cheese made from the milk from the goats on a single farm.

Now what’s interesting for me is that you don’t get many blue goat’s milk cheeses and there certainly aren’t any famous ones.  There are plenty of well known blue sheep’s milk cheeses, including the mighty Roquefort and loads of famous blue cow’s milk cheeses such as Dorset Blue Vinney, Stilton and Gorgonzola but there are no celebrated goats milk blues.  Off the top of my head I know of Harbourne in the UK, and at a push you might say the Picon from Spain qualifies but that’s a mix so I have disqualified it under my somewhat arbitrary legal system. And that’s pretty much it.

I have to be honest and say that I have no explanation for this.  Maybe the flavours that everyone likes from a goat’s cheese is not in tune with what the bacteria add.  Next time I find Baptiste, the one person who will know, I will ask.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make a blue with goat’s milk.  This one is a fine example of a good one and I’m sure that there are others.

So on to the cheese.  The rind is grey and covered with ash and quite edible [i.e. you really should eat it] and the paste is just off-white, soft, supple and uniform with pockets of blue mould well distributed throughout.  Since the cheese is relatively young it doesn’t have a strong aroma and also lacks the sharp freshness that you might expect from a goat’s cheese.  It does have a slight hint of lemony sharpness when you first bite it but this is soon overcome by the satisfying creaminess and the saltiness of the cheese and there’s a hint of pepper and grassy herbs at the end too.

It’s a canny enough cheese and I would gladly eat it again but it lacks a real character and a distinctive taste to be really memorable.  For wine, I’d go for a nice, crisp white such as a sauvignon blanc, quite possibly from the Loire valley just for a hint of locality to the event.

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