The Seasonality of Goat Cheese

Posted by Emilia D'Albero on

The arrival of spring is marked by warmer weather, longer days, and seasonal produce like artichokes, fava beans, and ramps. But for cheese lovers, spring means one very important thing: goat cheese season. Fresh and aged chèvres start popping up in cheese cases everywhere, adorned with colorful flower petals and herbs, wrapped in leaves, and even coated with a striking black layer of ash. The bright, lemony, and sometimes nutty or yeasty flavors of chèvre are the perfect way to announce the beginning of the season of renewal. 

But what is goat cheese "season," and why is it significant? First, the term "chèvre" meaning goat cheese in French, does not refer only to stark white logs of fresh chèvre - it encompasses all cheeses made with goat's milk, across all ages and textures, and there are quite a few of them! French writer Charles de Gaulle once asked, "How can you govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese?" but the real number these days is closer to 1200…and that's just in France. 

Second, cheese is a seasonal product because milk is a seasonal product. A ruminant animal must be pregnant to produce milk, and the lactation cycles of goats, sheep, and cows are all different. A goat's lactation cycle is around 300 days, and the milk composition will vary during the cycle (milk is composed mainly of water but also of protein, fat, sugar, and minerals). After "kidding" (when goats give birth), which traditionally happens in the spring, their milk is rich with extra fat and therefore creates particularly luscious and flavorful cheese. This is not to say that goat's milk cheese is not available year round, but rather that spring is the best time to taste goat cheese at its best. 

We also have to consider the change in weather and climate and how that affects the milk. During the spring and summer when goats are able to "browse" (the goat-specific term for grazing), they will usually have access to aromatic grasses, herbs, and other flora that lend a complex and bright flavor to their milk that would not be present otherwise. Therefore, fresh and gently aged goat cheeses are more celebrated in the spring and early summer because of their exquisite flavor! 

So what should you look for at your local cheese shop or counter? Seek out a local fresh chèvre, which will be soft, sweet and spreadable. You can also keep an eye out for geotrichum-rinded goat cheeses like Chabichou or Mothais Sur Feuille, which will be tangy and nutty. An ash-ripened chèvre like Ovalie Cendrée, Valençay, or Couronne de Fontenay will have a delightfully bright and lemony flavor and silky texture. And of course, you simply cannot forget about iconic American goat cheeses from farms like Capriole, Lazy Lady Farm, and Blakesville Creamery - for which we have the Goat Ladies of the 80s to thank! All American cheeses would not be what they are today without the hard work and passion of these visionary women. 

Once you've gotten your chèvre home, how should you store it? The delicate rinds of an aged chèvre require more oxygen to thrive, so you should avoid plastic wrap or bags, which will suffocate that little button of delight. Our plant-based Cellophane Sheets are more porous than our other materials and specially made for soft-ripened cheeses, allowing them to breathe and thrive. Fresh goat cheese demands a bit more structure, and our Reusable Sheets are sturdy enough to protect the softer curd and prevent moisture from leaking through the paper. 

We also recommend using the Formaticum Wire Cutter or Professional Soft Cheese Knife to portion and serve these cheeses, to prevent the delicate paste from crumbling or being crushed by a large blade.

Do you have a favorite chèvre or storage technique you would like to share? Email us at or tag us on Instagram @formaticum!

← Older Post Newer Post →