Spring brings the return of fresh goat’s cheese

Cilantro's chevre from the Waikato
Cilantro’s chevre from the Waikato

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.

IMG_1686Many 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.

A salad of grilled fennel, watercress, orange and chevre.
A salad of grilled fennel, watercress, orange and chevre.

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.

IMG_1690Goat’s cheese goes with:

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

See also:
Grilled cabecou and asparagus – a spring starter

4 thoughts on “Spring brings the return of fresh goat’s cheese

  1. Love your blog Lucy and Over the Moon also do a Goat’s Curd which won Champion Goat Cheese at the New Zealand Cheese Awards in 2011. I’m wondering if Gruff Junction is still operating as I understood they closed earlier this year due to Anna having a baby? Cheers, Sue, Over the Moon Dairy

    1. Oh goodness that is sad about Gruff Junction, although very happy news for Anna. Thanks for letting me know Sue, I loved their one with ash- Darfield I think. Thanks for the tip about Over the Moon- it’s great to see so Goats Curd becoming more popular! But I am a but biased being a great lover of the goaty cheese!

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