A Fateful French Feast

I hate to generalise, continue to test myself and understand that there are different types of goats cheese – but I seriously detest it. I recently found out, while visiting my Grandparents, that they too have a severe dislike for the product. Delving a little deeper into the history of this shared feeling, we discovered that all three of us were put off for life on the same day, 15 years ago…

Visits to my Grandparent’s house used to be a regular thing when I was a teenager, they had just retired from busy lives as pub landlords and loved playing host. Their journey to Norwich to a special French market resulted in a haul of French delicacies: charcuterie, smelly cheeses, crusty bread and fine wine. My sister and I were greeted with a warm welcome and a beautiful array of delights spread across the table. We couldn’t wait to begin.

Goats Cheese

I scanned my eyes across the table and a small ash coloured cheese called out to me, I took a generous corner of the cheese, smeared it onto a chunk of crusty baguette and took a huge bite. The pungent fumes shot up the back of my throat and into my nose, panic took hold and I expelled it from my mouth in the best manner possible.

From that day onward, I have been haunted by that experience – the musty, tang of a flavour summed up perfectly by ingredients expert Glynn Christian (Real Flavours):

“Some palates do a very curious thing: they dramatically heighten the flavour of the oil that gives the goaty tang. The minutest amount is blown up to fill the mouth with what you might imagine is the taste of licking between the rear leg and testicles of an aged billy-goat on a particularly hot day.”

Although rather vulgar, I do quote this when people try to persuade me to taste goats cheese, and I have a feeling my Grandparents may use the reference too when necessary!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “A Fateful French Feast

  1. Mike

    I have to wholeheartedly agree; goats cheese, like aubergine and tofu are the Devil’s own foods

  2. Harriet

    I absolutely ‘second’ this opinion!

  3. Brian

    I actually like goats cheeses in general although I admit it would depend very much on what was presented at the time (I don’t mind most blue cheeses for example). I always remember cheeses from my restaurant days working as a waiter when a fresh Brie, white and firm, might be acceptable to most but would be turned down by others until it had gone a brown colour and started to pour out of its cane box accompanied by a pungent smell. I couldn’t eat it then but I could now.

    • Goats cheese is hugely popular, and most people I know do love it. I did actually try some goats cheese at the Creake Abbey Farmers Market on Saturday, as I hope that one day my palette will change (like yours obviously has) and may eventually like it. I have also been told that the ‘goaty’ flavour does depend on a lot of things – if the Billy Goat is kept away from the females (except for when mating of course!) then there isn’t such a strong ‘farmyardy’ flavour and the bedding and milking equipment must be super clean too (thank you to Sarah of Brockhall Farm for that information!).

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