If you really want your cheese board to pop this holiday season add a goat cheese (aka chèvre) from France.
The Goat Cheeses of France invited me to the French Cheese Board in NYC to school me on their cheese. The owner & founder of Caseus Fromagerie Bistro, Jason Sobocinski, was in the house to give the 411 on how to make a cheese board for the holidays and beyond.
There are over 6,000 goat milk producers in France. It’s the country that produces the largest amount of pure goat cheese. There are 14 of those cheeses with the distringued PDO label on the label. The cheese is produced in six regions of France south of the Loire River: Centre-Val de Loire, Bourgogne, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Occitanie, and Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
Since the cheese that comes to the US must be pasteurized or aged at least 60 days, there’s quite a bit of chèvre that isn’t available in the US. Looks like you will have to take a trip to France to try some of it.
If you are looking for some chèvre to try here are some suggestions:
Chabichou du Poitou-soft ripened
This little gem is shaped like a drum. A bit mineral and sweet so it’s a good dose of flavor on the palate. If you are in France, you’ll be able to get a PDO version of this cheese, while in the USA a non- PDO version is available.
Selles-Sur-Cher- soft ripened
This cheese comes in a flat small cylinder with an ash covered rind. And yes, it’s good with the rind. I find ash rind cheeses some of my favorite to pair with wine.
Tomme de Chèvre- aged
A moist uncooked cheese with a bluish grey bloomy rind. You will notice flavors of hazelnut and fruit.
Bleu de Chèvre- bleu cheese
This rare cheese is made in Boissy-Saint-Léger, a commune to the south east of Paris. It’s mild and creamy. Would be great paired with red wine.
Ripened Goat Log- bloomy rind
This is a cheese you will see in restaurants on cheese plates. The round has a thick line below the rind and comes with a lemony center.
If you don’t like goat cheese that’s “tangy” on the palate, go with a goat brie or another creamy goat cheese. The creamier the cheese is, its’ far less tangy. Below is a recipe from Jason Sobocinski that’s perfect for when you are entertaining. The beef and Tomme Grand Mere with truffles compliment each other in the best possible way. Pair with your favorite French wine to indulge your senses in a lot of “oh la la”!
Seared Beef Toasts with Tomme Grand Mere aux Truffles & Chives
2 lbs Beef tenderloin
1 tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt + Fresh cracked Pepper
1 baguette sliced on the bias and lightly toasted
1 lb Tomme Grand Mere aux Truffles
1 small bunch of fresh chives finely chopped
Coat the beef in canola oil and rub gerenously all over with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. In a preheated heavy bottom pan (cast iron is best!) sear the beef tenderloin on all sides for 1-2 mins until nicely browned.
Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a rack until cooled. Wrap tenderloin in plastic wrap tightly and place in refrigerator for 3-4 hrs or optimally overnight.
When you’re ready to serve: Slice the chilled tenderloin into 1/8 inch slices and set aside. Assemble the toast by spreading a generous amount of Tomme Grand Mere aux Truffes atop the toasts, top each cheese covered toast with a slice of the tenderloin. Finish with a generous amount of finely chopped fresh chives.