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The Dish on Soft Goat Cheese

You might know soft goat cheese as chevre. This unripened cheese has been popular in Europe for ages but has only recently gained popularity in North America over the past two decades. The increase in demand for the cheese has lead to more goat herd start-ups across the continent.

In many parts of Europe, they produce chevre using different techniques. Their corkside chubs are air cured and come in many different shapes as well. They even coat their goat cheeses with various ripening agents such as natural ashes, hay or chestnut leaves. That’s less common in North America, however.

There are some Canadian producers who have managed to replicate European goat cheeses like the ones coated in natural ashes. There are also many Canadian producers who are making simple unripened versions of soft goat cheese, which need not envy European varieties. The majority of chevre varieties available in Canada are in their plain state or have spices, herbs or dried fruit mixed in or added to the outside of the cheese.

From a dietary standpoint, goat cheese is much lower in fat that cow milk cheeses. Cheeses made with goat milk are also easier to digest than their cow counterparts. If you’re buying goat cheese strictly for its dietary purposes, read the label to ensure it contains only goat milk products. There are goat cheeses out there that are a mixture of goat, cow and other animal milks.

The application of goat chevre in the kitchen is broad. You can make a simple appetizer using crostini, a healthy dose of chevre and fresh light-tasting greens. Chevre can also be used in sweet or savoury cheesecakes. Use it as a stuffing component to a roulade or small poultry breast (chicken, pheasant, Cornish hens or duck). Fill your ravioli or ragnolotti with chevre or add it to a vegetable terrine. You can even turn them into pan-fried patties.

Leading up to the holidays, Chef Antonio is run off of his feet in Choices’ Kitchen, preparing the delicious holiday foods in Choices Deli. He’s looking forward to dedicating some time to the slopes this Christmas season. That way he’ll have time to brainstorm more delicious recipe ideas for Choices Deli.