Our selection of goat cheeses ranges from creamy, mild spreads to pungent, crumbly discs to reinterpretations of favorite cow's milk cheeses. It's an essential part of any cheese plate, a course in itself or the secret behind the subtle tang in favorite recipes. Have a taste and enjoy the modest yet noble virtues of goat cheese.
Why we Love Goat Cheese
Variety! Goat cheeses can range in taste from strong and pungent, to delicate and mild. They come in many shapes: cone, disc, wheel, "button," the log-like bûche (say: boosh) and the puck-like crottin (say: cro-TAN). They delight with textures from creamy to crumbly to semi-firm. They are sold fresh, aged or marinated in olive oil or red wine. They may get coated in herbs (lavender is fantastic), black pepper, edible flowers and yes, even chocolate.
An Ancient Tradition Lives On
Goats were some of the first domesticated animals, thus the art of making goat cheese has a very long history. It began in the Eastern Mediterranean thousands of years ago, spreading through both mountains and deserts into Spain and France where it was heavily adopted.
Today goat cheese remains a staple of the Mediterranean diet, while North America furthers the tradition by producing an abundance of fabulous goat cheeses of its own. Many come from cherished, small, local producers with unique regional flavors. Others are from renowned cheese makers who have won international awards for their creations.
Nutrition and Goat Cheese
Compared to cow's milk products such as cream cheese, goat cheese is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. It also provides more calcium than cream cheese. Even though goat cheese has fewer calories, it has a full, rich and creamy flavor. Goat cheeses at Whole Foods Market® are all natural with no artificial additives or preservatives.
Storing Goat Cheese
Exposure to air causes cheese to dry out. Keep pieces wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper, or place in a zip-style bag and squeeze out all the air before closing. Store in the cheese drawer of your refrigerator at 40°F.
Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese Dip
Goat cheese and low fat sour cream meld for a perfectly tangy and creamy dip that's not too calorie-rich compared to most others. Make it ahead for a party or to spread on bagels or sandwiches.
- 5 to 6 oz fresh goat cheese
- 2/3 cup low fat sour cream
- 3 green onions (white and most of green part), chopped
- 1 TB chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TB fresh chopped basil
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender. Pulse 1 to 2 minutes until well combined but not completely pureed. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving. Makes about 1¼ cups.
Easy Goat Cheese Appetizer
Roll fresh goat cheese (any shape — log, crottin or pyramid) in one of the following mixtures to create a simple, yet impressive appetizer. Serve with crackers or crostini.
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tsp very coarse ground black pepper
- 1 TB fresh thyme, minced (plus a few sprigs for garnish)
- 1 TB minced fresh thyme
- 1 TB minced fresh marjoram
- 1 TB dried grated lemon peel
- 2 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
- 2 fresh basil leaves, finely minced
- 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 tsp paprika pinch ground cayenne pepper
Pairing Wine with Goat Cheese
The tangy flavor of goat cheese is offset well by either a crisp White or young Red wine. One of the best pairings is with a White made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes — a good thing to remember when choosing wine to go with a recipe or restaurant dish. Chardonnay is another good White pairing. For reds, try a perky Zinfandel, Pinot Noir or Malbec.
Goat cheese is often called “Chèvre” (say: shev), which, unsurprisingly, is French for goat. Officially the name should refer only to French-made goat cheeses, but it’s often applied to goat cheese from anywhere.
Instead of cream cheese, reach for fresh goat cheese to spread on your morning bagel. You’ll enjoy the nutritional benefits and also the flavor. Bonus: Goat cheese pairs very well with coffee, bringing out the brew’s subtle fruit notes.
Goat Cheese Lover’s Picks
- From U.S.A.: Purple Haze, Humboldt Fog, Bijou and 365 Organic Everyday Value™ Fresh Goat Cheese
- From Spain: Drunken Goat Cheese and Capricho de Cabra
- From France: Le Chevrot and Rond du Cher
- From Holland: Goat Gouda
More Goat Cheese Recipe Ideas
- Stuff roasted peppers with goat cheese and warm in oven.
- Top pizza with creamy chèvre and chopped fresh tomatoes and basil.
- Roll fresh goat cheese in nuts or breadcrumbs; bake 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Stuff fresh herbed goat cheese into chicken or pork tenderloin.
- Crumble goat cheese on steamed asparagus, grilled zucchini or roasted eggplant.
- Add goat cheese to omelets or quiche with herbs, ham or proscuitto.
Pair any goat cheese with fruit and walnuts served with artisan honey. Discover even more goat cheese recipes (such as a fabulous quiche!).
This elegant little appetizer features shiitake mushrooms sautéed with a touch of garlic, shallot and thyme. Sherry vinegar and wine add depth of flavor.