Get it while you can: pumpkin goat cheese
for the holidays.
The wife of a farmer in Hiram,* Ohio, Jean Mackenzie took her first cheese-making class in June 2007 and was licensed to produce cheese that October.
Two weeks later, she entered her chèvres (goat cheeses) in the National Cheese Competition sponsored by the American Dairy Goat Association. She won two Best of Show awards, two First Place awards and one Second Place award. Awards continued to roll in, most recently at the 2011 American Cheese Society competition (for her Apricot Ginger Chèvre).
In addition to plain chèvre logs, Mackenzie Creamery makes flavored logs that tempt us to hold a goat-out (really a pig-out, where we dig into every flavor). The flavors include Black Truffle, Blue, Blueberry Lemon, Cranberry Orange, Garlic Chive, Herbes de Provence, Honey, Sweet Piquant and seasonal Toasted Pumpkin.
There are also small tubs of flavored chèvres: Apricot Ginger, Cognac Fig (with Courvoisier Cognac), Sweet Fire and Tomato. The chutney or syrup flavorings are on the bottom of the cup, so that when the cheese is inverted onto a plate, they turn into a topping. Just add crackers, graham crackers and/or baguette slices and serve.
Toasted Pumpkin and Cranberry Orange chevre logs are wonderful additions to holiday tables. The Toasted Pumpkin tastes like pumpkin cheesecake.
GOAT CHEESE TIPS
Fresh goat cheese should be kept as cold as possible without freezing (33°F–35°F). It will keep in the fridge for two to three weeks.
To open a plastic-wrapped log, use a scissors to snip off a small bit of one corner to create a ”V.” Run the scissors or a sharp knife around the edges and remove the wrapper.
It’s easy to slice fresh goat cheese cleanly with a piece of dental floss.
Serve all cheese at room temperature. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator one hour before serving.
Store leftover goat cheese covered tightly in plastic wrap. You need to keep out air, which allows mold to grow. If small specks of mold develop, just trim them away and enjoy the rest of the cheese.
Discard any cheese that develops an off-odor, strange colors or more than a touch of mold.
Like all cheeses, chèvre ripens as it ages. It will develop a stronger flavor in a week or two (but won’t get “goaty” like aged goat cheese).
Fresh goat cheese freezes beautifully for up to 6 months.
Tips straight from the cheese-maker:
For retail locations or to buy online, visit the website, MackenzieCreamery.com.
Find out why goat cheese is a good choice for lactose-intolerant people.
Find a trove of cheese information, plus reviews of our favorite cheeses, in our Cheese Section.
*While Hiram, Ohio may become famous as the location of Mackenzie Creamery, it was also the residence of a U.S. president. James A. Garfield lived there as a college student, instructor and then principal at what is today Hiram College. He also married a Hiram girl, Lucretia Rudolph. Several of their children were born there, including Harry Augustus Garfield, who became president of Williams College, and James Rudolph Garfield, who became the 23rd Secretary of the Interior under President Theodore Roosevelt.