What it is:
ChÃ¨vre is a light, often fluffy, mild-flavoured cheese that many people simply refer to as soft goat cheese. It is usually sold in logs or disks and is often rolled in or flavoured with chopped herbs or cracked peppercorns. Since soft goat cheese is already wrapped, check the best-before date, and once opened, refrigerate it and use within one week.
• Feta is a firm but crumbly, tangy, salty and non-melting goat cheese sold in bricks or brine. Canadian cheesemakers now make goat milk versions of many varieties, such as Cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda, Camembert and Brie, which can be interchanged with their cow milk kin.
The average Canadian palate prefers mild over piquant goat milk cheese, so our chÃ¨vres tend to be more creamy and less pungent than European varieties. Many artisanal goat cheeses (particularly from France and Quebec) are available in Canada; these are often distinguished by their rich, barnyard flavours and unusual shapes, coatings (such as ash) and packages.
Goat cheese has twice the protein, one-third fewer calories and half the fat and cholesterol of regular cream cheese. Plus, goat milk fat globules are smaller than those of cow milk, making the cheese more digestible for many people who have milk-related intolerances.
A party platter for savoury sampling
The next time you entertain, try a goat cheese tasting. Calculate 1 to 1-1/2 oz (30 to 45 g) of each type of goat cheese per person and choose three or four varieties. The earthy flavour of goat milk makes these cheeses particularly suited to pair with dried fruits, spiced nuts, olives and whole grain and walnut breads.