Goat cheddar is the new black
Written by Kelly Schweitzer
Photography by Harry Gils
Styled by Dana Cowie
Cheese provided by Cheese Shoppe on Locke
- Wax On: The black wax encasement provides optimal conditions for preservation, says Guérineau
Chèvre Noir literally means black goat, derived from the type of cheese and colour of its wax coating. A Canadian-made goat cheddar, it was developed in 1988 by Louise Lefebvre and introduced to the consumer market in 1989 by Fromagerie Tournevent in Chesterville, Quebec — which is still the world's only producer, but has since been purchased by Damafro.
Pronounced "shev nwar," the cheese is made using low-temperature pasteurized milk and is naturally aged for one to two years, giving it a firm, but smooth, ripened texture that's hard and crumbly. Its black wax packaging protects the cheese and provides the perfect conditions for preservation, almost like a cellar would, says Damafro's marketing director Philippe Guérineau.
Medium- to full-flavoured, Chèvre Noir has a fine, but deep flavour with a bit of crunch and a longer aftertaste than most cheeses. It's sweet and agreeable to most palates, offering a mature Cheddar taste with a butter-caramel accent and refreshing fruity notes, allowing it to pair well with nuts or fruits like peaches, cantaloupe and pears. It's also great as a stand-in for Parmesan or even on its own.
When storing it, Guérineau says a cellar would provide the best conditions, with it wrapped in paper or foil, but otherwise he recommends at the bottom of the fridge with the fruits and vegetables to avoid the risk of humidity.
Guérineau suggests trying Chèvre Noir with a spicy Syrah from the northern Rhône Valley or a fruity Pinot Noir from Oregon, but it would also pair well with aromatic whites like Muscat or Gewürztraminer and Icewine or port.
How to master cheese tasting
Look at the shape, size, condition and colour of both the cheese and the rind. Note the body of the curd and whether it's dense or has holes.
Feel if the cheese is soft, semisoft or firm. Touch the rind to feel whether it's sticky, waxy, soft or sandy. And in the mouth, notice if the texture is creamy, buttery, grainy, silky or chalky.
Smell the cheese, including the rind, and determine whether it entices or repels you. You may discover it has familiar smells like milk, mushrooms, grass, animals, musty basements or wildflowers.
Press a bite of cheese to the roof of your mouth to generate saliva. After a few seconds, taste whether the primary flavours (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) are balanced and notice the secondary flavours (hint: they often mirror the aroma).
Do you like the cheese? What makes it distinct or memorable? Perhaps it excites or bores you, or reminds you of a special time or place.
Sourced from Canadian Cheese: A Pocket Guide by Kathy Guidi