Is mature chèvre underestimated?

The other week I had the pleasure of participating in a guided tasting of mature chèvre here in Oslo. Mons and their Norwegian importer invited. Up for tasting was among other cheeses mature chèvre. The others being both bloomy and washed rind cheeses which will not be of any focus in this post. Amomg the chèvres, there was also a small puck style ewe’s milk cheese from Provence. For the purpose of this post, it will count as “chèvre”.

moden chèvre
Et utvalg av ostene vi smakte

Mature chèvre, not extra mature

Could be it is just up north where I live we’re so concerned that chèvre is supposed to be rather fresh, I have been shopping very mature chèvres in both Chablis and not least in Bra last autumn which showcased a very rich selection of the cheese. Admittedly, this is a cheese for the advanced cheese lover. Some will, however, readily argue there are many other cheeses as well only for the very committed, an argument I do not quite follow. Enough of that. The cheeses we had up for tasting were not anything as mature as those on the picture below, but a mere two months old or so. But for a lactic chèvre, that is a cheese starting to come of age.

moden chèvre
Særedeles moden chèvre på Cheese 2017 i Bra.

The tasting showed we’re in the habit of eating most chèvre too fresh. Could be we have some bad experience with mature chèvre becoming too sharp and pungent with age. But there is something in the middle, giving a balanced cheese with volume. The acidity that we expect when the cheese is fresh is probably gone. Like old crop coffee. Very good, but lacks acidity. Quite an other cheese, this, giving you an other experience.

What makes this transition?

The maturing, of course. But that said, it does not mean you can just buy a fresh chèvre, leave in in your fridge and expect the same experience. It has something to do with the temperature, humidity, microclimate and love and care. Forgetfulness is, by the way, not part of the maturing treatment. An affineur would not wrap the cheese in any way, either, leaving it for a few months before checking what has happened.

moden chèvre
The ewe’s milk cheese Le Castillon from Provence at Cheese 2017 in Bra, Italy.

The conclusion

As with Champagne, that is usually drunk too young, most chèvre is eaten too young. I am not saying you should quit doing that, just that some are doing just fine with some more age, and thereby giving you a different kind of experience. It’s not an either or. The fresh ones are more for the light summer evenings, while the mature is for the autumn, sitting down in a contemplative mood. The cheeses are out there, ask for them.

To drink

Mature cheeses demand mature wines. There are of course mature Sauvignon blanc, but also try to switch to Chardonnay. Mature Champagne will always work. Some fruity reds as well, we also had a very fine Beaujolais along the mature chèvre. Wonderful.

PS

The mature cheeses we had were:
Cosne de Port Albry from the Loire
Le Saint Haonnois from Roanne, 50/50 goat and cow’s milk
Pouligny from Loire
Le Castillon, from Provence, ewe’s milk

The Transhumance of Beaufort

Beaufort. I put a piece in our fridge and I am actually amazed it’s still there. Respect perhaps. Beaufort is probably the best alpine cheese there is, so you don’t grab it from the fridge just like that. Not a bad word about other French alpine cheeses, or Swiss or Italian for that sake, they’re all good, but Beaufort is special.

Beaufort
Massive fjell i Savoie hvor Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage kommer fra.

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Get to know Finn – Finn the Cheese

Finn, strange name for a cheese? Could be, but I found it at Paxton and Whitfield, nicely wrapped. Unknown for me as it was, I could of course not resist it. I was allowed a taste, which applied to all the cheeses I shopped there. As it is, Finn is a small English cheese in a Camembert tradition. In short that means; cow’s milk, bloomy rind. Raw milk of course.

finn
Finn – a fine small cheese in a Camembert tradition.

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Raschera d’Alpeggio – cheese from Piedmont

She showed me a Raschera d’Alpeggio and asked if I had tried it before. This was at Gutta på Haugen, a local cheesemonger in Oslo, right before Easter. I hadn’t. Unfortunately I am not that into Italian cheese, but eager to learn of course. Had a fantastic mountain Fontina earlier this winter, so I am picking up – slowly. But this time, a Raschera that I hadn’t even heard about. Italian, you know. Is it an excuse? As I said, want to learn. Well, as it is, Raschera might be just that, but mine is, or rather was, Raschera d’Alpeggio. Mountain cheese versus cheese from the plains. Summer cheese versus rest of the year cheese. There’s a difference. The air, the pastures, the freedom, the view, micro dairies, no stress. Well, by and large. Does it say d’Alpeggio on the label, just go for it.

Raschera d'Alpeggio
Raschera d’Alpeggio from the Cueno province in Piedmont

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Malus Danica and Stichelton

It is still Christmas, and as the year is about to ebb, it is time for reflection. Some do and some don’t, but if you’re sitting down for some reflection don’t do it alone. Bring a glass of Malus Danica and a delicious slice of Stichelton. Both artisanal products in their own right, but far apart. Paired though, they’re lifted to a higher unity that just might bring your mind off track and on to a path of pure taste and indulgence. In that case it was probably meant to be. Malus Danica, as the name partly indicates, is a Danish ice-wine made from a variety of apples. Stichelton is a Stilton style cheese as Stilton ought to be. In my opinion, anyway.

Malus Danica and Stichelton .
Danske Malus Danica and the English Stichelton in Christmas harmony.

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