Officially, August is National Goat Cheese Month, but let’s agree: we’re past campaigning for goat cheese acceptance. Back in the 1970s, when the first goat-cheese pioneers were emerging from their milking barns in coveralls, Americans found chèvre exotic. Today, you can find chèvre in scones, sandwiches, and soups—there’s even a new goat cheese and cherry ice cream on the market, from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which I’m happy to say Di Bruno Bros. now carries.
If you need an excuse to peruse the caprine realm, remember that goat cheese is the easiest of all cheeses to digest. That’s why you’ll often see it for breakfast in Europe; the French love their soft chevre on a baguette, and even the Greeks adore their goat-cheese feta crumbled on cukes and tomatoes first thing in the morning.
For breakfast, I like to drink a cup of chamomile tea alongside Evalon and almonds. Evalon is an award-winning Gouda-like wedge from cheesemaker Katie Hedrich in Chilton, Wisconsin. Katie stunned the world in 2011 when she won the U.S. Cheese Championship with Evalon — she’d only been making cheese for three years.
Call her a dairy Olympian.
Evalon is sweet and nutty with a satiny finish. You’d hardly know it was a goat cheese since there is virtually no tang, and yet the flavor is slightly herbaceous, which is why Evalon pairs so well with chamomile. If you’re a tea drinker, you might also try it with a cup of almond-scented black tea or South African Honeybush.
Looking for other goat cheeses to try? Here are five of my favorites. Try a few of them side-by-side on a cheese board, and you’ll be surprised how different they are from one another in terms of flavor and texture:
Note: if you’re already an Evalon fan, look out for Katie Hedrich’s latest creation: Ziege Zacke Blue. It’s sweet earth meets heat lightning: just a few stray blue bolts rippling across its dense, rustic paste.