Once considered exotic, Chevre (French for goat) is now one of Canada's most popular cheeses. It's readily available, from plain to herbed, in both grocery stores and restaurant menus across Canada.
The Background Story
First made in the Mediterranean, Chevre began production in Canada once goats were brought over to the New World for farming. Chevre is made by draining the whey from the curds, and then the cheese is placed in molds. Once removed from the mold, it's aged from a few hours to a few months. Chevre is stark white because the goat's milk lacks carotene, the yellow pigment found in cow's milk. Goat's milk is used for more than just making chÃ¨vre. It is often used in popular cheeses such as Gouda, feta, brie, camembert and cheddar-style cheeses.
Types of ChevreFresh Chevre: Soft, spreadable and mild in flavour. It will be just a few hours old if you purchase it at a market.
Le Chevre Noir: This goat's milk cheese is not your typical Chevre, despite its name. Instead, a cheddar-like recipe is used to create this unpasteurized, medium to full-flavoured cheese with a hint of crunch due to converted lactose sugars. The aging process lasts at least a year. It is sold in bricks encased in black wax. The world's only producer is the Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville, Quebec. They also make Chevre de campagne, Chevre doux, Chevre fin and Chevre noir (using pasteurized milk).
Chevre D'Or: Another firm, cheddar-style goat milk cheese, which can be flavoured with herbs and spices.
How to Buy and Store
Chevre is often sold as a soft log, either plain or coated in herbs, spices and sometimes dried fruit. If purchased fresh from the market, it should be used within days. Otherwise, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, wrapped in plastic wrap.
For the best Canadian Chevre, try one of these notable Canadian Chevre cheesemakers
Mornington Heritage Cheese and Dairy Co-operative
This Millbank, Ontario Co-op is the largest goat's milk producer and processor co-op in Ontario. Aside from goats milk cheeses such as cheddar, curds, feta and Gouda, it specializes in pasteurized Chevre - in plain and garlic.
Goat's Pride Dairy at McLennan Creek
This organic goat dairy in Abbotsford, B.C., started when the founders bought their first goat as a source of milk for their son who was allergic to cow's milk. Now, they have more than 170 goats. In 2001, they began turning the milk into cheese, and now make four types of chÃ¨vre - plain, black pepper, garlic and herbs, and sun-dried tomato and basil.
Hilary's Fine Cheeses
Hilary's, located in Cobble Hill, B.C., takes inspiration from the French Trappist monks. They use very little machinery to create the array of cow and goat's milk cheeses, including the creamy Chevre.
Happy Days Goat Dairy
The owner and cheesemaker of this Salmon Arm, B.C. dairy learned his trade in his homeland of Switzerland. Now, he and another cheesemaker use only pasteurized goat milk to create Chevre in cheese balls that are marinated in olive oil and herbs.
C'est Bon Cheese
Owner George left the TV industry to return to his family farm in St. Mary's, Ontario. Swapping the flock of sheep for a herd of goats, he began making cheese by hand, using only the milk from his own herd to create a handful of cheese varieties including Chevre.
Chevre's creamy and slightly tangy flavour makes it an ideal enhancement to less flavourful foods, such as salad and pasta or steamed vegetables. Try Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir for a wine pairing.
Facts and Tips
Although cow and goat milk have similar fat content, goat's milk contains more fatty acids, making Chevre a tarter-tasting cheese.
Try it today:
Chanterelle Ragout over Frisee with Chevre
Hoax Couture Dip
Savoury Strata with Chevre
Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffle with Summer Fruit Compote
Mushroom and Chevre Tart