People of the Mediterranean have been making cheese from goat’s milk since they tamed goats around 10,000 BC; in these times it was enjoyed for its versatility and energy-giving properties.
Eating goat’s cheese is at the heart of the Mediterranean culture. In Homer’s Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is described moulding curd in small faisselle moulds made from rush. Ulysses and his companions included goat’s cheese in their provisions for their many adventures.
Already enjoyed in the Mediterranean, goat’s cheeses became an integral part of the Gallo-Roman culture.
The Romans ate goat cheese soaked in olive oil, accompanied by vine fruit, as enjoyed by the god Bacchus. These cheeses were also included in pastry galettes which were taken along to battles.
Thanks to a good climate, goat breeding spread across France to many areas south of the Loire.
Having a few goats was enough to allow peasant families to survive wars and food shortages. It was tradition to give goat’s milk to the pilgrims traveling to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.
Eventually goat cheese made its way into Spain, and during the Middle Ages, goat’s cheeses served as bartering currency throughout many areas of the Mediterranean.
Today, we try to incorporate our knowledge, skill, art and heritage into the production of our cheeses, and offer you delectable selections and variety, that would make our ancestors very proud.
Most artisanal fresh goat cheese (i.e. Chèvre) found throughout the US is usually prepared and presented in the form of a log. In this instance, the cheese maker has drained most of the whey from the curds, and after some time, proceeds to roll pieces into the various shapes for market.
Unfortunately, this method results in the formation of micro granules which although not very noticeable, cause the cheese to have a somewhat grainy texture, and when used in cooking, it provides with a less than smooth breakdown, and ultimately with a somewhat granular feel to the palette.
Our Pur Chèvre however is made according to French tradition, very similar to a Montrachet, a little more labor intensive, limited in output, as it is moulded rather than hung in large quantities, and layered so that gravity and time are the main factors in its draining interval.
The end result: a creamy, dense, homogeneous texture, which melts in one’s palette and provides the most optimal accompaniment to any culinary undertaking. Please try this comparison yourselves, and email me your feedback, I welcome all comments.
Most artisanal cheese-making begins with the simple coagulation of milk into what is known as fresh cheese or in the case of goat milk, as Chèvre.
Most artisanal cheese-makers in our area usually focus on a line of Chèvre which they compliment by adding various flavors and or toppings, from spices, to figs and berries, and even chocolate. I too have a selection of the aforementioned varieties, as they are very tasty, and not very difficult to perfect.
My passion however, lays in cheeses which I deem somewhat boutique in nature. Some of you who may have sampled my Morbier, Reblochon, Taleggio, Fontina, and of course our very popular Wild Blue, could attest to this fact.
In tasting these cheeses, one need not be a connoisseur, in order to discern that they convey very unique characteristics, nuances and flavor, inherent of the cheese itself, rather than a flavor additive or topping.
To achieve this of course, requires considerable expertise and knowledge, in the true art of cheese-making. Having had the fortune of living and traveling throughout Europe was in my opinion a most valued education and the basis for achieving this end result.
Whenever customers tell me how my feta cheese is not dry, excessively salty and chalky like some others, I fondly recall the small village of Katerini, at the base of Mt. Olympus where my grandmother made feta the same way that women, generations before her had perfected the same cheese since the dawn of civilization. And now, those same methods and techniques are practiced in a small upstate New York farm; that to me, is inspiration.
Then of course there’s the French influence where in small villages of the Comté region I learned intricate details about aging cheese, and how by using certain strains of mold, I could influence texture, flavor, and final outcome. Here too, tradition passed on from generation to generation, has resulted in spectacular cheeses, the likes of which could now be savored in my Morbier, Reblochon, Noire 718, Blanc 212, to name a few.
In Italy, besides having some of the best food and wine, cheese-making is once again pivotal to every small farm and very unique from region to region. Yes, Mozzarella did originate in Italy, but there are quite a few more choices, and Parmigiano does not come in a green shaker can. My influences here were the impetus for my Blue, Fontina and Taleggio.
In conclusion, it is not my intention to sound egotistical, but almost anyone could coagulate milk with the right additive, but not everyone can create great cheese. Okay, so I may be a tad bit egotistical.