I recently got a sample of different goat cheeses from Firefly Farms in Maryland, a small farm that produces award-winning handcrafted cheeses. To my surprise, I’m struck by how much they taste just like cow cheese, except with a cleaner flavor and a lighter feel.
From the sweet, moist chèvre to the rich, salty blue cheese to the decadent, soft-ripened round, these cheeses have none of the grassiness that goat cheese is sometimes known for.
There’s been more interest in goat cheese recently because of the many people with lactose intolerance who can’t digest the fat molecules in cow dairy. Goat cheese, goat milk, and goat yogurt can be good options for the lactose intolerant, as the sugar molecules in goat dairy are relatively small, making it easier to digest. Interestingly, the growth hormones that are routinely injected into cows have never been developed for goats, so all goat dairy is hormone-free. It’s supposedly higher in calcium and B vitamins than cow dairy, too.
As for the taste, goat cheese has a refreshing flavor that’s tangier than cow cheese and less sweet. Despite its creamy texture, it reportedly has fewer calories than regular cheese. After eating a few pieces of each of the various cheeses, I don’t have that sluggish feeling that usually comes over me when I indulge.
Look for goat cheese at natural food stores, and definitely at farmer’s markets. There are lots of small goat farms around the country that produce high quality dairy and sell their products locally.
Here are some no-fuss ideas for how to use chèvre style the goat cheese:
- Crumble it onto salad
- Spread it on grilled vegetables
- Break it into pieces and cook in omelets or frittatas
- Crumble it over berries with a little lemon zest and honey
- Blend it with melted chocolate or pureed fruit, and honey or sugar, and freeze into popsicles
Louisa Shafia is a cook with a passion for healthy eating. She recently penned Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life, a collection of seasonal recipes and eco-friendly advice on food. To watch her cooking videos, see her recipes, and find out about her cooking classes, go to lucidfood.com.