After a brief goat cheese hiatus over the winter months when our goats are pregnant and therefore off of milking duty, we have finally gotten back to crafting our fresh goat’s milk cheese - the favoured Chèvre!
The recent availability of this deliciously creamy cheese is due to the fact that we have made it through birthing season on the ranch and our does are back to their twice daily milking schedule. With each doe producing more than a gallon of milk each per day, this means that we can get back to regularly crafting our deliciously fresh farmstead Chèvre!
In this video, we explore the inner workings of the creamery as our hard working staff craft both the Chèvre and its cow’s milk cousin, the Fromage Blanc.
As described in the video; “the word Chèvre is actually French for ‘goat’ and is used to describe one of the oldest varieties of goat cheeses, dating back centuries to when French farmers used their beloved goat herds to craft simple, yet delicious cheeses out of their fresh goat’s milk.”
In fact, for many who are first learning how to make cheese, this is one of the most simple and expeditious types of cheeses to craft. Unlike many of our other cheeses, which require specific molding, flavoring and aging, Chèvre only requires a brief draining period in a cheese cloth bag to remove the whey from the curds before it is ready to be enjoyed!
(The Chevre hangs overnight in these cheese bags in order to drain the whey from the curds)
For those who love goat’s milk cheeses, our distinctive Chèvre is a particular favorite, as it has a very bright, almost floral flavor due to the diverse diet of our does. Our herd has regular access to the local Central Coast foliage that covers the property and they particularly seem to enjoy eating from the various indigenous oak’s, shrubs, thistles, and wildflowers found throughout the property.
They even love eating the insidious poison oak that proliferate in this area, and luckily the goats and their milk is unaffected by the chemicals present in the poison oak. In fact, an American old-wives tale even suggests that drinking raw milk from a goat who has eaten poison oak will help the drinker gain immunity to the plant’s nefarious toxins!
For those cheese lovers who may not be particularly enamored with the distinct flavor of goat cheese, we created the delicious Fromage Blanc! This cheese is crafted with the same basic recipe and has the same distinctive smooth texture as the Chèvre, but is made with cow’s milk instead of goat’s milk. This grants the cheese the same wonderfully fluffy texture of the Chèvre, but with a bit more mild and familiar flavor than its goat’s milk counterpart.
Because of the popularity and versatility of this unique cheese, we started to craft it in a variety of flavors and forms. We now make this cheese in a Spicy (mixed with goat horn chile flakes and a ground fresh chili paste.), Everything (think of the bagels; it includes a variety of herbs and spices, and Marinated (marinated in a robust local olive oil from Olea farms in Templeton, CA).
Wondering how to serve these goodies?
We love to use the Chèvre cold in salads (think beets, arugula, or kale), at room temperature with honey on a soft bread, or even melted into a sandwich or dessert if you are feeling adventurous. Try the plain Fromage Blanc in all these same settings if you prefer the cow’s milk version.
The Marinated Fromage Blanc pairs well with a soft bread or crostini, tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar, or on top of your favorite pastas and salads!
The Spicy Fromage Blanc is a staff favorite for snacking on with crackers or bread or having with eggs and in unique recipes!
And the newest addition to the team - the Everything herbed Fromage Blanc - is quickly becoming a customer favorite for including on a cheese board, as it has a wonderful herbal flavor that pairs well with bread or crackers in any setting. It is also delicious on salads, soups or pastas!