Ever wondered why cheese made with goat’s milk tastes so, well…goaty?
There are two types of people in the world - those who love goats cheese and those who don’t. If you love goats cheese, you love its forward earthy/animaly flavours. For others, it can be off-putting.
What an animal eats will influence the milk flavours and goats are known for their independent streak, consuming bark, tree foliage and other supplemental snacks.
Goat milk cheeses are prized for their unique brightness and lactic tang. As they age, they develop creamy, earthy notes. That said, cheese made from goat milk runs the gamut from fresh bright chevre to an aged Gouda with a rich, fudgy texture and nutty taste.
And where does that flavour come from exactly?
When the enzymes break off the fatty acids they become volatile and interact with our aroma receptors. It is the unique fatty acids present in goat milk that give it such a distinct flavour. Several of these acids – capric, caproic and caprylic acid – are named after caper which is Latin for goat.
Goat milk can also unfortunately be affected by hormone levels which leads to a barnyard flavour, too unpleasant for some people.
Goats cheese is also a very good source of calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and potassium. Its fat globules are one-fifth the size of those found in cows milk, making the milk more digestible.
Some of our favourites:
Dreaming Goat Fresh Chevre
This fresh goat cheese is made on the Dreaming Goat Macedon Ranges farm with the milk of a small herd of 20 milking goats. The milk is set overnight with lactic acid cultures and gently strained to produce a delicate and creamy cheese. Enjoy in an omelette with herbs or frittata, alongside smashed avocado & sourdough or simply with crusty bread.
Holy Goat La Luna
This standout goat milk cheese ticks all the boxes – local, farmhouse, organic and made by a couple of fierce women. It’s a great example of the creamy lactic sweetness of a surface-ripened cheese with its creamy lactic sweetness and tangy finish.
Aphrodite Goat Milk Halloumi selected by Will Studd
Selected by Will Studd for its high quality and genuine reflection of place, this halloumi is produced in a small artisan family dairy where each pocket-shaped cheese is handcrafted using time-honoured techniques. Hand folded with mint leaves, it has a distinctly Mediterranean flavour - salty with a hint of lemon. This stretched curd cheese is perfect for grilling or pan-frying.
Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat Cheese
Made on the Cameron families’ goat & sheep dairy farm in Meredith, this is one of Australia’s must have fridge staples. Soft textured cubes of fresh goats cheese are marinated in garlic, herbs & extra virgin olive oil. Perfect on an antipasto plate, in salads, tarts, pizzas & pasta or simply as a snack
L'Amuse Brabander Gouda
This unusual semi-hard cheese is made from the fresh milk of Saanen goats in the Brabant region of Holland. Its porcelain white paste is a stark contrast to the typical deep amber associated with classic Dutch gouda.
After 3 weeks, young cheeses are selected by oplegger (ripener) Betty Koster for maturation at her unique facility, just outside of Amsterdam. The higher temperature and humidity encourage complex flavours of butter & caramel to develop whilst maintaining the moisture in the cheese, giving it a distinctive fudgy texture.
What to drink with goats cheese?
The bright fresh flavours of younger, softer goats cheeses pair well with crisp white wines (Sauvignon Blanc) sparkling wine and dry rosé. More aged, firmer cheeses benefit from whites on the more full-bodied spectrum - think sancerre or chardonnay, even beers such as a pale ale.
If you must pair it with a red, go for something light and fruity with soft tannins.
By Olivia Sutton & Amanda Kennedy