If you have not yet tasted Belle Chevre, Alabama's fabulous artisanal goat cheese, you are in for a treat. A couple of weeks ago Randy and I drove about twenty minutes north of Athens, Alabama, to the tiny fromagerie of Belle Chevre to meet owner and CEO Tasia Malakasis.
Tasia (pronounced Ta-she-a) purchased the creamery in 2007, and since that time Belle Chevre has become a household name. Already a nationally distributed and much sought after cheese (Belle Chevre was served at the White House when Bill Clinton was President of the US), Tasia has made it her goal to familiarize everyone with the wonders of goat cheese.
Goat cheese, a staple in Europe and the Middle East, has been somewhat misunderstood in the United States. Once considered an acquired taste and reserved for special occasions, this versatile and affordable cheese can now be found in most dairy cases and can used in hundreds of delicious recipes. Many of these recipes can be found on the Belle Chevre website.
This past weekend I served yummy goat cheese grits with garlic roasted pork loin to my dinner guests, and just this week The Splendid Table featured a recipe for Creamy Roasted Sweet Potato Soup topped with goat cheese that I can't wait to try.
Although one can choose from a variety of Belle Chevre handcrafted goat cheeses, I am fondest of the "montrachet" style of plain, creamy goat cheese because, for me, it is the most versatile. Others may prefer the sweet spreadable breakfast goat cheeses or even the delightful Belle Chevre Pimento Cheese. Time magazine recently declared pimento cheese to be one of 2011's hottest foods. Belle Chevre is always on the cutting edge.
Artisanal goat cheese is in high demand these days, and Belle Chevre is in the "vanguard" of the artisanal goat cheese movement. Belle Chevre's many products, which include fresh and marinated goat cheeses, are available at grocery and health food stores from Beverly Hills, CA, to Winterpark, FL, as well as online at the Belle Chevre website
If your grocery does not carry Belle Chevre, you may order directly from the website. or you may ask your store manager to add Belle Chevre to their line of cheeses. Meanwhile, read more about this incredible product right here on Swampland and also check out the photo essay on Tasia and Belle Chevre in a recent issue of the Decatur Daily.
---Penne J. Laubenthal