Goat’s cheese is one of those ingredients that will work wonders for you especially when there is a last minute plan for having people over and even more so if you are feeding a vegetarian! Goats cheese stays quite well in a very chilled fridge so keep it to hand for a quick burst of spring flavour on your menu. Check out my quick tips today on how to introduce this sublime cheese into your menus, with all the French flair along with it!
A wonderful article written in Le Telegramme in France describes the suprisingly colourful history of goats cheese and it always leave me in awe of how certain foods came about and gained popularity world over…
Of all the animals domesticated by man, the goat was one of the first. They were small, easily transportable, and could withstand a nomadic existence as well as extremes of weather. Around 8000B.C., farmers in the Eastern Mediterranean began keeping small herds of goats for meat, their skins but more importantly for milk. The goat was a mobile food supply providing a healthy food, easy to digest and eminently suitable for infants. The milk when made into cheese keeps well and suited the nomadic life of the people at that time. (Photo: www.offthegridnews.com)
History tells us that the Cyclops, Polyphemus- who appears in The Odyssey, is described moulding goats curd in small moulds made from rush. Both Ulysses and The Romans enjoyed goat’s cheese as well as their respective Gods Bacchus and Dionysus… who were partial to eating them dipped in olive oil (how indulgent and how delicious does that sound!)
Goat cheese spread round the Mediterranean with the Islamic conquest of the area by the Saracens. They eventually invaded France from Spain and for the next 25 years steadily moved north; taking with them their goats and their cheese.
Towards the end of the 8th Century, the Muslims reached the Loire River a major route of commerce and transportation, which would accelerate the spread of goat cheese along its southern bank. As an invading force the Saracens did not cross the river and the Islamic occupation came to an end on October the 10th in the year 732 when they were finally defeated and repelled at the Battle of Tours. The Saracens were forced south but left behind their goats and their knowledge of goat’s cheese, leaving the French with a now globally celebrated exquisite ingredient, known to the world as ‘Le Chevre.’ (Photo: petervisima.wordpress.com)
Taste Safari Tips for Using Goats Cheese
1. Crumble soft goats cheese over a lightly poached beetroot and fresh rucola salad. Drizzle with fresh honey, balsamic vinegar and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. (Photo courtesy of www.bigoven.com)
2. For a quick appetizer, spread 1 tsp of cranberry jelly over a wheat cracker. Add a thumb size of goats cheese, drizzle over some olive oil and toast for 30 seconds under a fire hot grill. (Photo courtesy of www.theviewfromgreatisland.com)
3. Update your Cheese Plate and dazzle your guests with a new sexy look that is oh so very French! Goats cheese is decadent served on a cheese platter along with fresh figs and lightly seared pear wedges, drizzled with pomengranate molasses or dark honey. Don’t forget a very very chilled dessert wine for that final fabulous touch! (Photo courtesy of www.walmartlivebetter.ca)