Spring cheese

We’re well into April and the goats have long since ended their family affairs, while the ewes are in the middle of the lambing, at least here. While I do not regard ewe’s milk cheese as a typical spring cheese, goat milk cheese, or Chèvre, typically is.

The best Chèvre is fresh and unpasteurised, and may I say: French. Even though there is a lot of high quality Chèvre style around. I am well aware that a lot of my readers do not have the opportunity to participate in this delicacy that fresh raw milk Chèvre is.

Chèvre is fresh, soft, white with a fine acidity and comes either with a slightly bloomy rind or lightly covered in ash. Both are perfectly edible. And best in the spring, thats why I call it spring cheese. That extends into summer I must admit.

Another thing with Chèvre is that it comes in all sorts of shapes and as such makes its mark on a cheeses table. The typical log that is sliced in the shop is probably the most boring one as it is often industrial and pasteurised. Look for the cylindrical, square, brick formed, pyramids, tubes and so on.
If you want to learn more about the different types you can go here. A lot of different and excellent cheeses described there, along with suggestions what kind of drink to pair it with.

Valencay and Auzanne Cendree
Valencay and Auzanne Cendree – typical spring cheese

I once had a French teacher from Nice. She used to live in Norway and her ultimate food experience would typically be Chèvre and a glass of Sancerre on the balcony while the sun sets. And I can so well imagine the charm. Something like in Dolly Parton’s My Tennessee Mountain Home: “Sitting on the front porch on a summer afternoon, in a straight back chair on two legs leaned against the wall….” Not much chèvre and Sancerre there though. Other charms, like watching the kids playing and chasing fire flies. I am sipping to a glass of white wine and munching some delicate Chèvre. Enjoying the good life in other words. AT springtime – spring cheese.

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A bit of cheese history

If you want to learn how it all came about, you should listen to this podcast. Takes a small hour altogether, and think it is worth it. A bit of cheese history in other words.

So of you follow this podcast link you will have an entertaining hour of listening and become cheese enlightened as well!

Even pulling apart some of the established truths about the early days of cheese making. Where it all started stands firm, though.

Enjoy your listening.

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All American Cheese

It just so happened that one of my local purveyors of fine cheese announced the arrival of some American cheese. From no less than Jasper Hill Farm. This is a rare occasion worth celebrating. Being a European we have more than enough cheese to dig into, but then there are some artisan American cheeses that really is worth savouring.

American cheese?

I think most Europeans are pretty ignorant when it comes to American cheese. All the more important that we get introduced to some of the real gems. Philadelphia is the most famous American cheese around here. American brand rather, just as the Jarlsberg is more of a Norwegian brand, a strong one though, than a Norwegian cheese.

Cellars of Jasper Hill

Direct from Greensboro, Vermont, USA there came Bayley Hazen Blue and Harbison. The first from unpasteurised cows milk, and a cheese that truly belongs to this blog. Te other one, Harbison, from pasteurised cows milk, and as such not really something I deal a lot with. But alas, it is a good one.

No need to exclude it, taste is more important than anything, in my opinion at least. And this is a good cheese.

Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day

Having said that though, this Saturday is Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day. 18th April that is. Make it an opportunity to savor some unpasteurised cheese, of any kind really. Well, not all my readers have that opportunity, but still there are possibilities. Se your local cheesemonger, they will help you out.


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My spring cheese wish list!

Well, not exactly a list, but still more to come.

Must admit that I am not very well versed in Spanish cheese. Manchego of course. And the I  once bought an insanely good cheese at the Malaga airport, Spain that is. I remember the taste, but have no idea of what cheese it was. Except that it was quite small, kind of portion cheese and relatively soft. Maybe it was  a little blue, as well, but that’s just speculation. However, it brings me to another cheese that is on my list, namely

Cabrales and Cider
Cabrales and Cider

Unpasteurized blue cheese from Asturias in northern Spain. It’s around the middle of the Spanish Biscay coast, just west of Bilbao. And a little inland. Are you going there, go visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as well.  Enough of that.

Cow and cow and / or !

Basically a cow’s milk cheese, but it can also be mixed with goat and/or sheep’s milk. Especially when it is mixed cheese it has a strong taste. Anyway a very, very  good cheese, by all means. I do not have much experience with this cheese, but it is claimed that this is perhaps Europe’s best blue cheese. Hence obviously the interest from my side.

A DO-cheese. Or PDO in EU language. That is the origin protection. For example, should you make Cabrales, the milk needs come only from animals born and raised in Asturias, more specifically the mountains called Picos de Europa. As with so many blue cheeses this is also matured in caves. Limestone caves just up in the Picos de Europa mountains. Two to five months.

Originally, this cheese was wrapped in maple leaves. But that was previously. Now it is required that it is packed in dark green aluminum foil. Are you on a trip, then it may happen that you’ll find a cheese that is still wrapped in maple leaves. However, it is outside the rules, you know. Then you at least know it is an artisanal cheese.


Good as it is so it is also frequently used for cooking. Including hot sauces, or just melted over grilled meat. But eat it plain. Some good country style bread with fresh figs, but also good with some quality salami or other regional dried sausages.

To drink

This cheese goes well with a mature, full bodied Spanish red wine. Local cider as well, or a somewhat sweet sherry. No, not Bristol Cream. Rather a Lustau VOS Oloroso 20 Years. Not cheap, but then it’s a good cheese, too.

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