The Great Goat Cheese Giveaway!

French goat cheese infographic

My love for cheese, namely French cheese has remained no mystery here.  In fact, I recently made and chronicled two pilgrimages to France, specifically to explore and taste French cheese.  I spent the majority of that time in a state of transcendent bliss, savoring many examples of uniquely shaped French goat cheese.

Fortunately for you, there is a wide range of goat cheese – both domestic and international available in the U.S.  From fresh chèvre, to runny and pungent triple crème styles, to firm aged goat examples.

To learn more about goat cheese as well as great pairings, head over to the Culture Magazine site.  Today you’ll find my post with two recipes: one for Stone Fruit Chutney which pairs beautifully with Le Chevrot and another for Pasta with Chèvre d’Argental and Slow Roasted Early Girls.

GIVEAWAY!

I am giving away 5 French goat cheeses so you can test, taste, and create your own recipes. You will also receive a package of tried and true recipes for inspiration, trivia cards so you can learn a little bit of history on French goat cheeses, and temporary tattoos to wear your love for Original Chèvre.

TO ENTER: Write a Haiku about your love for French goat cheese. A Haiku is 3 short lines (1st line 5 syllables, 2nd line 7 syllables, 3rd line 5 syllables). Post your Haiku in the ‘Comments’ section of this post. You MUST leave your email address in the field where it is requested, it will not be visible to the public, only to me. Do not leave your email address in the body of your comment. You can also enter to win on the CWC Facebook page – there, simply leave your Haiku, no email address, and I’ll make contact if you’re the winner. The winner will be selected on October 1.

Disclaimer: My thanks to Culture Cheese magazine and Goat Cheeses of France for sending me goat cheese samples and providing me the opportunity to participate in this promotion, I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post on the blog. 

C is for Cheese

If you know me well enough by now, you’re clear on at least two things…I’m crazy about cheese and I love my City. Can you imagine how happy I was last night to take a cheese class in San Francisco?

After work, I trekked into the City by BART, then jumped on a classic trolley car (F Line) stuffed with tourists, and headed toward the The Cheese School of San Francisco. The class was called Cheeses of France and it felt like I was walking toward the gates of heaven.

Once I arrived, I received a warm welcome and a glass of French white wine (2011 La Cadette de Fiere Côtes de Gascogne). Participants were invited to sit around a large table, which was nicely appointed with gorgeous plates of cheese at every setting, as well as elegant wine glasses, baskets filled with sliced baguette, a ramekin of chutney, and a dish of sweet, ripe strawberries.

The instructor began to walk us through each cheese, placed clockwise on our plate. With such joie de vivre, she described the cheese and what region in France it originated from, had us touch it, smell it, observe the color and texture, and then slowly place a piece in our mouths. We were challenged to slowly savor each sample and observe the reaction on our palates. Was the cheese buttery, salty, sweet, nutty? Did it have a lasting aftertaste? Was it elegant, surprising, reminiscent, palatable? Yes! Yes! Yes!

I slowly devoured each piece, interspersing sips of French wine (we were also served a 2009 Delas, “St. Espirit,” Côtes du Rhône), nibbles of bread, dried fruit, and ripe strawberries. I swear I was levitating above the ground in a transcendent state of cheese bliss.

A few things I learned: you cannot make good cheese with bad milk, it’s not a ‘Brie’ if it’s not made in the Normandy region, raw milk has more flavor, the cheese maker’s style of ladling the curds affects the flavor of the cheese, sourdough bread doesn’t pair well with cheese, and American wines contain too much alcohol to pair effectively with cheese…best to enjoy with French and other wines that contain a lower percentage of alcohol.

I will leave you with a list of the cheeses I sampled and encourage you to visit your local cheese purveyor to explore some of these on your own:

Brillat-Savarin – Triple crème, pairs well with champagne, buttery, grassy, and slightly peppery.

Valençay – One of my favorites! Stinky, creamy, delicious. Pyramid shape – creamy on side, compact in middle. Don’t serve before dinner.

Tomme Crayeuse – Butter scented, creamy, barn-yardy, chalky in middle. Pairs well with Syrah wine, best enjoyed when funkier looking (riper).

Trois Lait – Nutty, high in butterfat, rubbery texture, melts well.

Comté – Equivalent to Switzerland’s Gruyere, nutty, firm, and perfect for fondue.

Époisses – Ooh la la! Salty, ripe, drippy, grassy, wash-rind cheese. Elegant, pungent, and pairs well with a Pinot.

Tomme Brûlée – A Basque shepherd’s cheese – delicious, nutty, rich, and truly tastes like it was made high up in the Pyrenees.

Fourme au Moelleux – The show-stopper! A blue-veined cheese that could be a meal to itself. Rich, salty, and covers your palate completely, leaving your taste-buds absolutely enchanted!

The Cheese School of San Francisco is located at 2155 Powell Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94133