Along with warm days and crisp nights, blossoms and green shoots, spring also brings the return of young, artisan goat’s cheeses to our plates.
Look carefully at the cheese counters in spring and you’ll see the re-emergence of fresh goat’s cheeses from artisan producers like Gruff Junction, Crescent Farm, Cilantro, and Meadowcroft.
Days or weeks old, their crisp citrus-y brightness seems to echo spring as light returns, days become warmer, and our palates lift. This is a time of fresh flavours as our tastebuds awake from their winter slumber.
Many artisan producers rest their ‘girls’, aka goats, in winter, ready to give birth again in Spring. Ever tried to buy fresh artisan goat’s cheese in winter? You’ll only find industrial or aged varieties, until spring when fromage frais, chevre and curds return.
Their seasonality reminds us that milk is only available because of the birth of calves, kids and lambs. Industrial Dairy may have disrupted this natural rhythm with their year-round milk production but these goat’s cheeses are a joyful reminder of the cycle of life needed to put milk in our glasses, cheese on our plates.
Few other flavours are more redolent of the promise of spring. Young goat’s cheeses are all lemony fresh with none of the barnyard goatiness that comes with age. Cool, yet light they are a wonderful addition to a spring salad or tart. They pair beautifully with the fresh flavours of spring’s bounty, fennel, pea shoots, crisp lettuce, and their sparkling astringency is kept warm with the addition of the earthiness of asparagus, walnuts and mushrooms.
Enjoy their return to our plates as the spring-time freshness is a harbinger of summer sun, where goat’s cheeses play another role, their coolness a welcome respite from summer heat.
Apricot, Basil, Beetroot, Blackberry, Butternut squash, Caper, Cherry, Chilli, Chocolate, Coffee, Coriander leaf and seed, Cucumber, Fennel, Fig, Garlic, Lamb, Lemon, Mint, Mushroom, Olive, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Rosemary, Thyme, Walnut, Watercress, Watermelon
The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit, Bloomsbury, 2010