There is a new food trend I’ve been noticing everywhere lately: goat cheese. Goat cheese is exactly what it sounds like, cheese that is made from the milk of a goat rather then the milk of a cow. But what makes it different and where did it come from?
The first time I had goat cheese is while I was living in Barcelona. I went to a local restaurant there, called Milk, for brunch one morning. I’m not big on breakfast foods, so I ordered off the limited lunch menu they offered. I got a salad that included chicken, beets, and goat cheese. To me, cheese always seemed like a last minuet addition to food, and never one of the main ingredients. But this cheese was delicious, it really added a lot to the salad. I was hooked!
I wanted to know exactly what it is that makes goat cheese different from the traditional cheese we eat in the U.S. that comes from cows milk, so I did some research. It turns out that the reason goat cheese is more tart in flavor is because of the higher content of medium chain fatty acids. I was worried that would mean it was less healthy then other cheese, but it turns out it’s the exact opposite. Goat cheese has less calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium then cheese from cows does. It’s also lower in lactose, so it’s a good alternative for anyone who has trouble digesting dairy.
Once I tried it, I started noticing other restaurants throughout Barcelona had it on their menu. Goat cheese has apparently been used in Mediterranean areas for thousands of years! And now the trend is starting to come to America. When I returned to the restaurant I work at after being abroad, I saw that we had added a new menu item, a salad that featured goat cheese. While it’s still not as common to find as mozzarella or parmesan, more and more U.S. restaurants are starting to offer the cheese.
Goat cheese is also becoming a lot more common at grocery stores. Stop and Shop carries Mont Chevre, a crumbled goat cheese that can be found near the deli section. I love using this on wraps I make with chicken and avocado, although you can sprinkle it on top of virtually any food to make it better. Another brand I love is Cranberry Chevre from Trader Joe’s. The fruitiness of the cranberry and tartness of the goat cheese are unexpected, but really work together. I’ll eat this with pretzels or crackers for a quick snack.
Next time you find yourself at a restaurant or grocery store, don’t be afraid to try the goat cheese!