Goat’s Milk Cheeses

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

goat’s milk cheeses are made in every country where there are significant numbers of goats; but they are almost always made on a small, local scale and few are exported.

The most diverse selection is that to be found in France, whence a few varieties are sent abroad. A plateau de fromages de chèvre (tray of goat’s milk cheeses) may offer types ranging in size from barely larger than a walnut, as with broccio from Corsica or rigottes from the Rhône valley, to the weight of a Camembert or more.

Flavour ranges from mild and fresh, as in Saint-Claude from the Jura and numerous minor local varieties, to exceedingly pungent and perhaps even blue, as in the ancient and probably extinct Tignard from Savoie. Shapes may be round, as in the small crottin (‘dropping’) de Chavignol; pyramidal, as in Livroux and Valencay from the Indre; or long and cylindrical, as in Chabichou from Poitou or Saint-Maure from the Indre-et-Loire, which is stiffened by a straw passed through it from end to end. Nearly all are soft varieties. Some are covered in leaves or grape marc (debris from wine-making); most are ripened by surface moulds.