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What Is the Difference Between Chevre and Goat Cheese?
Chevre is a general term that refers to any cheese made from goat’s milk. It is the French word for “goat” and short for fromage de chèvre, or “cheese of goat.” In the United States, the most common chevre is a soft, fresh goat cheese, which has led to the misconception that chevre only refers to this—however, chevre can technically be made a variety of ways and isn’t always soft and unaged.
In general, cheese made from goat milk has a tangy, tart flavor compared to cheese made from cow’s milk. It softens well under heat while not melting the way cow cheese does. Both goat’s milk cheese and cow’s milk cheese have similar fat contents.
How Is Chevre Made?
Chevre is made by warming goat milk and adding both bacteria culture and powdered rennet. The culture converts the milk’s lactose into lactic acid, while the rennet acts as a coagulate to set the cheese. The curds (solidified milk protein) separate from the whey (yellowish liquid) during this process. The cheesemaker then scoops out the curds and strains them further, resulting in a thick, creamy, white goat cheese.
3 Types of Chevre
There are many varieties of chevre, and most of the differences between them have to do with the age of the cheese. Young chevre is white, moist, mild, and doesn’t have a rind; as it ages, chevre darkens to yellow, becomes drier and more crumbly, tastes tangier, and develops a rind.
- Fresh chevre (also called fresh goat cheese). This is the most common type of chevre, often not aged for more than a few days, giving it the mildest flavor. It is a soft cheese that is very spreadable, and it is often sold and served in a log shape. This chevre can be plain or mixed with fresh herbs.
- Valençay (also called pyramide). This variety of goat cheese is young, aged for around three weeks, with a citric taste. It has a thin, gray-blue rind dusted with charcoal and is sold in the shape of a pyramid with a flattened top.
- Bûcheron. Bûcheron is a semi-aged goat cheese (ripened for five to ten weeks) with a bloomy rind, sold in a log shape.
Many other cheeses often made with cow’s or sheep’s milk can be made with goat’s milk instead, including camembert, brie, feta, and cream cheese.
6 Creative Ways to Enjoy Chevre
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Chevre is a very versatile cheese, and it is commonly enjoyed a number of ways:
- Spread on bread. Chevre spread over baguette slices or crostini is a popular appetizer; a common French chevre-and-bread dish is a log of goat cheese warmed in the oven, topped with thyme and honey, and served with small slices of bread or crackers. Chevre can also be used to replace cream cheese spread on toast or bagels.
- Crumbled over salads. Cold, crumbled chevre is a great addition to any salad, and is especially common on salads that have sweet fruits like apples or cranberries, which complement chevre’s tangy, tart flavor. Beet salad in particular is delicious with crumbled chevre on top.
- Eaten on sandwiches. Fresh chevre’s spreadable texture is perfect alongside meat or vegetables in a sandwich.
- Atop pizzas. Chevre melted atop pizza is a delicious alternative to mozzarella cheese. Goat cheese pizzas often include sweeter ingredients like red peppers or caramelized onions to balance out the chevre flavor.
- Mixed in to soups. Chevre is a great alternative for sour cream to be mixed into soups to give them more body and a creamier flavor.
- Added to Italian dishes. Chevre can be mixed into pasta sauce bases (such as pesto) for added creaminess or spooned on top of pasta. Asparagus or mushroom risotto tastes great with chevre mixed in. Chevre can also be used as a substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna.
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