Friday, January 10, 2014

#41 - Chevre "Te Ma" from Kaikoura Artisan Cheese

Since arriving back in New Zealand almost a year ago, I have been on the lookout for some good chevre/fresh goats milk cheese.  We loved all the different fresh goat milk lactic cheeses that we worked with at Neal's Yard Dairy, and chevres that we tried in France.  It seems that there are a few around in New Zealand, but they are easier to get hold of if you live nearby.  Unfortunately for us in Palmerston North there is nothing local (until I get our shop up and running), so I've had to keep searching.

Kaikoura Artisan Cheese Company have recently launched a Chevre Fermier called "Te Ma".  When I previously wrote about Daniel & Sarah at Kaikoura, they were still developing their herd of Saanen dairy goats ready for milking.  Well a few months ago they started making Te Ma, and I was lucky enough to get a sample.

By the way, apologies for not using the correct Maori punctuation - Blogger does not have this option.  Anyway, in Maori "ma" means "be white, clean" etc and this is certainly apt for this cheese.

It had a clean aroma, with a slightly cultured, acidic note much like you expect from cream cheese.  The texture was soft and moist.  There was a little crumble from the acid in the curd, but this was more than balanced out by the moistness which gave a creamy texture.  When tasted, it is first acidic and sour and then some slight floral aromas develop as the cheese is swallowed.  The flavour was very fresh - no "goatiness" as many people expect from goats milk cheese.  This freshness is a sign the goats milk has been handled with care and has not been abused - which is not surprising as Daniel & Sarah's goats graze very close to their little cheese factory.

Personally, I would prefer to allow this cheese to dry out a little more before I eat it, to get a more fudgy texture (which is easy enough to do yourself anyway).  Although many people in New Zealand are unfamiliar with fresh goats cheese, I think it could become popular due to its versatility.  Some of the ways we like to eat it include: in many types of salad, on home made pizzas, with honey or fresh fruit, or on top of pasta or vege bakes in winter.
Te Ma before I devour it.

Daniel and Sarah with their (happy) Saanen goats.

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