Written & photographed by Stay-At-Home-Chef
I have a confession to make – I used to hate goat cheese.
It’s one of those dirty little secrets I’ve kept to myself for years. For as long as I can remember I always detested chèvre, to the point where I would force my goat-cheese-loving husband to keep his stash in the bar fridge downstairs in the basement far away from any food I would be consuming.
There was nothing I couldn’t find to hate about goat cheese: The texture, taste and smell. I remember getting food allergy testing done when I was in my 20’s and preying goat’s milk would get flagged – at least then I’d have an excuse. But, alas, the results indicated goat cheese fell in my ‘go ahead and eat as much as you can possibly cram into your mouth’ category.
Now fast-forward to when I first launched this blog and began to lead a more serious life as a self-proclaimed foodie. This passionate dislike for anything goaty started to really weigh on me. I felt it held me back as an epicurean and I was ashamed. Anytime I would politely decline chèvre people would stare at me and proclaim “but you’re a foodie!” Yes. It was true.
So I came up with a plan of action that would force me to become a lover of goat cheese, creating a detailed step-by-step an approach that would not only acclimatize me to the taste but convert me into a fan. It was basically a glorified goat cheese boot camp.
And it worked.
I started off slowly; nibbling on über mild cream cheese textured options on salads, slathered on sandwiches or crumbled on pizza. At first I could only manage a bite or two, shuddering my way through and holding my breath. But ever so slowly I built up my tolerance and started experimenting with goat cheese dips served on top of strong flavoured crackers to help mask the taste, and then graduated to mild goat gouda and eventually more pungent flavoured cheeses masked under spreads and chutneys. With help from the cheese professionals at Benton Brothers Fine Cheese I discovered a newfound appreciation and love for chèvre. Not once did they bat an eye when I’d ask for a goat cheese for people who hate goat cheese. And not once did they steer me wrong.
It might have taken me more than a year but I can now say I’m not only a fan of goat cheese – I’m addicted to the stuff. Mild, creamy, hard, soft – I love it all. But my ultimate favourite is paillot de chèvre from Quebec. Its soft interior is quite runny at the rind but gets firmer close to the centre, the flavour mildly aromatic and slightly tangy. Oh and in case you were wondering it goes great with a chill glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Here’s a recipe I’m currently obsessed with making: Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin. This started as a favourite for my weekly date night at home with Mr. Spock, but the kids soon caught on and now help devour this fantastic appy.