Seasonal Goat Cheese: Cevrin. Because it's Goat's Time to Shine
The season of the goat is among us. Unlike cows who can generally be milked anytime throughout the year within their 300-day lactation cycle, goats are on stricter breeding and milking cycles that are more tied to the time of year. Spring is goat season.
After the momma goats have finished birthing their cutie-pie babies towards the end of winter, they kick into high gear for milk production. In spring, the mum's bodies concentrate on making the highest fat, most nutritious milk possible for their kids. This is also around the time of the year when flowers, herbs, and delicious grasses start sprouting. In Sonoma and Napa mustard plants rear their golden heads. Depending on where one lives in snowy regions, grasses might start poking through icy sheaths. The season of the goat is now building steam.
This is all good news for us.
Who benefits from richer milk and wild grasses besides frolicking kids and their mums? Psst, everyone raise their hands now. We do!
Spring, when goat milk cheeses are higher in creamy butterfat and infused with the flavors of new grasses and herbs dotting the surrounding landscapes, is a fantastic season to explore fresher goat's milk cheeses. Of course any time is a fantastic time to sit down and contemplate the delicious grassy, peppery, lemon nature of goat's milk, but spring is when the flavors really pop in a young goat's cheese.
One of my favorite fresh goat's milk cheeses from abroad is the tiny Cevrin.
Cevrin is made in the Piedmont foothills of Italy. The goats are allowed to wander about and climb the hilly terrain and munch on whatever they can find growing nearby. After the cheesemaker milks the well-excercised foragers, they scoop the lactic acid-set curds into molds and lets them drain. Once they are properly leached of enough whey, they decides which cheeses are to be sold unadorned and which will be herbed or topped with crushed red pepper. Truth be told, it's easier to taste the true essence of spring milk from unadorned cheeses fresh cheeses. However, I lean toward the herbed ones for my cheeseplate, first, because they're so pretty, and second, because I like the added intensity of tasting the seasonal herbs on top. The pictured one above is named Cevrin Alle Erbe di Montagna. Note- this style of Cevrin is different from the goat and cow's milk blend that is sold under a similar name. In the bay area I've seen Cevrin at the Pasta Shop at Market Hall.
Because of its lively flavors, Cevrin pairs wonderfully with a grassy, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, or a clean cut Italian or French white, or wit beer. Stay tuned for more goat cheeses for the season!
Have you tasted Chervin? What are some spring goat cheeses that you seek out?