After a long and difficult span of time without dairy in my mini-fridge, my partners and I received our next batch of cheese from the lovely Cheese Co-op. This week included three varieties: Chèvre Herbes de Provence, Feta, and Beltane’s Vespers.
All were made with goat’s milk, making them all “goat cheeses.” But normally when we think of goat cheese, don’t we imagine the gooey, crumbling goodness paired with pear and walnut on our favorite bistro’s salads? We hardly think of feta, the salty white cubes that accompany olives, anchovies, cucumbers and tomatoes on the Greek salads served at Athenian and similar diners.
Chèvre, named after the French word for goat (very fitting), is the traditional name for goat cheese, and specifically the type you usually find at supermarkets packaged in those funny-looking logs. It’s ultra-creamy, easily spreadable on crackers or bread, and is complemented by fruit that cut its tanginess, such as pear or green apple.
The name Feta, ANOTHER goat cheese, comes from the Italian word fetta, meaning “slice.” It is tangy like chèvre yet extremely salty because it’s put in brine. I warn you: some people love it (as they love anchovies and olives), others, like a few of my relatives, despise it (they too its salty companions). I’ve rarely seen feta used outside of Greek salads, but it makes a good topping for any “Greek-themed” dish (i.e. pizza, pasta, etc.)
The main difference between these cheeses is their melting indexes. I like to judge cheese on a scale of how it’ll melt on pizza, pasta, a panino, and most importantly: in a GRILLED cheese sandwich. I’ve tried both, and goat cheese melts much more readily than does feta. Who knew? As an inept but inquistive scientist, I assume it has to do with their respective densities and protein content. What are your thoughts?
-Becca Brand ’16