I appreciates a rare jewel when I find one. One of the treasures presented to me on my trip to Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery last year was a two-ounce aged goat cheese, “Crottin,” appropriately named Bijou. Bijou is French for jewel and this cheese is the embodiment of all that is exceptional about goat’s milk, the creating of, and tending to a petite cheese. Made from pasteurized milk, the fragile curd is transferred into cheesecloth to drain overnight after 24 hours of maturation/coagulation. The next day the Bijou is hand-shaped and moved to the drying room for a few days. After spending some time in the drying room, the nuggets are sent to the aging room for approximately ten days where the natural geotricum rind will grow in a controlled environment. Once they hit the right level of maturity, the cheeses are wrapped and packed in micro-cave packaging. When wrapped the cheese is still fresh with a delicate young rind. As it matures, the heart becomes soft and the flavor more full-bodied. The wrinkly rind starts out as a light cream color (15 days) and as it matures becomes a deeper golden brown (75 days).
So reminiscent of the French goat cheeses I enjoyed while roaming the markets way too long ago… I was salivating at the nutty, slightly goaty and lemony scent–Mon Dieu! Breaking into the Bijou the texture was smooth, soft and creamy. It had a mild, fresh goat’s milk flavor with a nutty finish. The rind added some sweetness to it. I felt very fortunate that my friends from VBCC packed me a goody bag to bring home–Bijou included!
When I returned home from my trip I placed one of the Bijou in the freezer to firm up, then, using a grater, I shaved some on top of my pasta that I made–definitely something I recommend trying. I also wrapped a Bijou in applewood smoked bacon, baked it in the oven, and served it on mixed greens. That and a glass of Domaine de L’Auriere Muscadet makes a nice light summer dinner.