The majority of goat cheeses
are called Chevre. The word Chevre means goat, but is
regularly used to mean goat cheese. The distinctive, tart,
earthy flavor has wonderful subtle variations. Chevres have
a unique tang and aroma from the beginning and grow more
robust and bold in this rapidly-aging cheese. The flavor
comes partly from the fatty acids in goat's milk which
differs from cow's milk but feed can also affect the flavor.
Fat content may vary by breed.
Goats are seasonal breeders and milk production is greatest
from mid-March through October, although many breeders are
striving for year-round milk production through use of
artificial means which will help US cheese producers. Few
goat's milk cheeses are aged more than 4 months and freezing
can cause loss of quality.
Goat cheeses are classified as unripened (fresh) or ripened
and their texture is defined as soft, semisoft, firm or
hard. Texture indicates the moisture content of the cheese.
Unripened cheeses can vary in moisture content. Ripened
cheeses have culture introduced to give them a special taste
or texture. Most cheese is distinguised by age, density,
size, shape and coatings. Young cheese tends to be much
whiter and ripened cheese develops a creamy color.
Often cheese with less moisture have a stronger flavor and
aroma. The larger and denser the cheese, the more slowly it
dries as it ages, and the more complex the flavor becomes. A
small log will taste differently from a large log and
pyramids and cakes will have an even different flavor. Ash,
herbs and carotene also contribute to the flavor and color
and may inhibit bacterial activity on the surface.
Soft, unripened goat
cheeses represent the majority of the domestic cheese production. They are
ready to eat from a few days to two weeks of age. One of the most fragile
is the soft, spoonable fromage blanc. Other varieties last longer with a
lower moisture content. An unripened cheese has
tang and is usually a moist, fresh curd texture similar to ricotta cheese.
A light, fresh goat aroma is common.
Soft ripened cheeses include nine varieties. These cheeses
usually have a velvety looking white surface mold like cow's milk
Camembert or Brie.
Chevrita, Camembert and Chere
Feuille will ripen like regular Camembert or Brie and are ready to eat if
they give readily when pressed and the center is creamy. The exterior
white mold is edible. Others, like Pyramid and Bscheron, don't get as soft
and may look crumbly but will taste very smooth. As the cheeses age, the
while mold turns darker and brownish and can be trimmed off.
Crottin is an unripened cheese. It can be eaten soft or
allowed to dry until very hard, then crumbled to use. Soft-ripened goat
cheeses have a more complex flavor and aroma than unripened cheeses.
Semisoft or firm, ripened
cheese such as Swiss style, Cascadian, Jack and Chedder
styles are comparable in texture to their nongoat
counterparts and are relatively long-lasting. All are
usually aged three to four months before sale.
Hard, unripened or ripened
goat cheese...the most familiar of these is Gjetost which is
caramel in color with a very sweet, slightly tangy flavor
and a firm buttery consistency. These cheeses have a long
There are various other
miscellaneous cheeses which include ricotta which is a very
perishable cheese. Other goat cheeses are packed in olive
oil and herbs and are wonderful to eat on bread.
include UC Davis; Goat Cheese Invasion, Sunset 1983;
Real-Simple Foods.com; About.com
Goat Cheese Varieties
Commercial Dairy Info