Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One of my Favorite Goat Cheeses... Coupole!

Being that we are smack dab in the middle of Spring, I decided to feature one of my favorite goat cheeses... If you've been following along the past few months you may see a pattern developing in that I LOVE the aged goat cheeses that come from Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery. The cheese I'd like to talk about today is the Coupole.

Cheese: Coupole
Producer: Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery in Vermont
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Aged: 3 - 5 weeks
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

The Coupole is a cheese that I can never get tired of. Like most cheeses it changes dynamically depending on its age and is always a treat no matter how young or old it is. This cheese is named Coupole after its dome shape.  The brainy looking rind is a result of the practice of adding geotrichum to the mix.  I often refer to this cheese as the most delicious snowball you'll ever have in your face :). It's also one of my guilty pleasures... I've been known to eat a whole 6.5 oz wheel in one sitting (shhh! don't tell!).

As I cut into this particular Coupole today, I have to say that it is at its peak. If you look carefully towards the middle you can see that the middle of the cheese is still firm and a bit flaky, while the outer edges are quite gooey. I've mentioned this process before, but this is a result of proteolysis or the breakdown of proteins. The bacteria in the rind work their way from the outside in digesting fat (a process called lipolysis) and proteins along the way. These processes are what makes cheese ooey gooey as well as fantastically flavorful. If you were to cut into a  younger wheel of Coupole, you would see a firm paste almost all the way throughout the middle with very little gooeyness close to the rind.

Ok, enough science speak... let's talk about flavor. The Coupole is on the mellow side when it comes to pungency, but it is also a goat's milk cheese... so if you're not a goat milk fan, take a tiny bite first and see what you think before digging right in. The first thing you notice when you take a bite of the Coupole are the two very different consistencies of the smooth, creamy outer edge and the flaky, firmer interior. The paste that is in the middle has a flavor comparable to a fresh chevre, very clean, smooth and milky with a touch of salt. The creamline and rind add a sweet, yeasty, slightly gamey flavor. It is such a clean tasting cheese with such a beautiful goat flavor.... I just love it so much!!

Today I happened to have one of the first of the season's apricots and it paired fantastically well with the Coupole. The sweet, tartness of the apricot cut through the creaminess of the cheese and was just heavenly. I can also see a sour beer like a Lambic or the Supplication from Russian River Brewery going very well with this cheese.

Most of the cheese counters in the Northern California region should have this cheese available so make sure to pick one up for yourself. You won't regret it!

Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!