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A Search for the Best Artisan Goat Cheese

Goat CheeseAny healthy eater would love to eat not just any cheese, but goat cheese, any time of the day or day of the week. Being a soft cheese, however, you can’t keep it for long, and because the best quality are still made by artisans, you can’t buy enough and often. This means only two things if you want to continue having the benefits of this low-calorie, low-fat, easy-to-digest highly nutritious cheese: find an artisan near you or learn to make it yourself.

What’s an Artisan Goat Cheese

Artisan goat cheese is attentively crafted by hand in small batches. Artisan goat cheese can be bought from farmsteads that raise goats and make them into cheese. Other artisans that do not own a farm typically buy their goat milk from high quality sources. You can expect them to use organic goat’s milk derived from grass-fed goats. This makes the quality of the milk so much better than from those raised in CAFOs or concentrated animal feeding operations where unnaturally large number of goats (or some other animals) are confined or in captivity together to create more profit for the farmer.

Following the Cheese Trail

If you have been dilly dallying about eating goat cheese, start with an artisan made. It is easy to fall in love with chèvre, the fresh mild cheese using goat’s milk, if your first experience is positive.  You’ll be assailed by its fresh flavor and creamy texture (depending on how much moisture has been left). Many of those who tried said “It was love at first bite” and the rest is history; they become a fan to the point of going to the ends of the earth to find great-tasting artisan chèvre or handmade them on their own.

If you are officially a chèvre fan, you would want to know where you can get it from. There are groceries that carry several brands, you can do a taste test and decide which you like best. You can also check where they were made; buying local is good insofar as goat cheese is concerned. It means it is fresher than when it has been imported from another state or country. You can ask around or check the Internet for local artisans; visit the ones closest and find out if you can buy from them or their outlets, and if they do enough to distribute.

Visit a Cheesemaker in California

If you live in California, you’re lucky to have enough cheesemakers to buy from. Most are open to the public any day, If you want to visit any of these, don’t take a chance. Check out Visit a Cheesemaker posted in Cheese Trail.

Some cheesemakers are open to the public on a regular basis, some are open seasonally or by appointment and some are just plain too busy making cheese. 

You have a couple of options. If you’re focusing on just Marin and Sonoma County cheesemakers (north of San Francisco), you can download or view the map. Or if you want to know about cheesemakers throughout California, download the app — available for Apple and Android.

Take one of the suggested tours of open sites (which are open on a regular basis), or plan ahead by checking with the cheesemakers that have occasional on-farm tours (listed as Contact for Appointment on the map).

This page has a directory of cheesemakers that are grouped into: “Open, Contact for Appointment and Closed.”  Use the app for location for location. There are descriptions for each cheesemaker to help you decide which to visit.

Visit a Cheesemaker in South Australia 

Cheddar is Australia’s favorite,which is quite easy to see with a visit to any grocery. The shelves are brimming in all sorts of forms – grated, sliced or block. If you are crazy about cheese, Australia has many specialty artisan cheesemakers to keep you contented.

Recently, however, a new star rises from farmhouses growing goats: the goat cheese. It is now a common scene in farmers markets to see cheesemakers peddling freshly made white curd with yellow-rinds cut open to expose creamy interiors. With the rising demand for goat milk that artisans use to make cheese, this type of cheesemaking is now regarded as the newest dairy sector to flourish in South Australia. This is what Nigel Austin shares in “More Cheesemakers Seeking Goat’s Milk as Demand Risesposted in The Advertiser – South Australia Section. The demand is hard not to notice as even the big names in cheesemaking started dipping their fingers into goat cheesemaking …

“Udder Delights, Woodside Cheese Wrights, Barossa Valley Cheese Co and La Vera are among the cheeseries using goats’ milk to produce specialty cheese products.

Woodside Cheese Wrights head cheese maker Kris Lloyd said goats are a growing industry because of the very strong demand for specialty-type cheeses made from goats’ milk as well as sheep and buffalo…

Dairy Authority of SA general manager John Crosby said there are five goat milking flocks in South Australia, mostly producing milk for making cheese…

Hindmarsh Valley Dairy (Fleurieu Natural) owner Denise Riches also produces raw goats’ milk, yoghurts and cheeses for sale to consumers … 

In Australia, goat cheesemaking is also getting popular in other regions prompting cheeseries to start making chèvre such as the Red Hill Cheese and Drysdale Cheeses in Victoria and a lot more in the small farmsteads. If you are looking for more goat cheesemakers, try checking out the suggestions made by Barbara Sweeney in the article More cheese please posted in Daily Life – Food Section.

The one engaged in artisan goat cheese making in Australia cited in this article is Holy Goat Cheese, Victoria with cheesemakers Carla Meurs and Ann-Marie Monda since 2002.

The Bottomline:

There is nothing like a chèvre that’s freshly made by a pair of experienced hands. After making the rounds and buying your supplies for as long as they can last, time will come when you will need to buy again. If buying the same quality is too impractical, there is another strategy left in your arsenal: “learn to make it yourself.” Going around cheeseries, you need to pick important tips that you may not get from self-help and instructional materials.

Next time, let us take a look at some easy recipes and instructional materials and try making some chèvre so your dining table will have a steady supply of it…

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