Joan Of Arc Peppadew-Flavored Goat Cheese. Photography by B.A. Van Sise.
KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.
Joan Of Arc Goat Cheese
Flavored Goat Cheese Logs & Goat Brie
CAPSULE REPORT: Not every cheese that taste good must be artisan made. Joan Of Arc is a so-called “industrial” cheese—it’s factory made, in large quantities. The Joan of Arc Brie is widely available and well regarded. The company recently introduced goat cheeses (chèvre)—a goat brie and flavored goat cheese logs. They hit the spot—tasty and perfect for easy entertaining. They’re kosher, too.
Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), the farm girl from northeastern France, began to hear voices at age 13. They identified themselves as the Archangel Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, and they relayed God’s mission for Joan: to fight the English occupation and help the Dauphin Charles become the legitimate king of France. At the age of 16, the uneducated peasant made her way to the nearest garrison to explain her divine mission, and, not surprisingly, was sent home by the captain. A year later, in 1429, she talked her way into the French court, where she convince the Dauphin to give her troops. The rest of the story is well-known: She led an army that freed the city of Orléans from English siege, fought more battles and cleared the way for the Dauphin to be crowned King Charles VII in July 1429. Joan continued to fight the English, was captured in May 1430 and was burned at the stake as a heretic on May 30, 1431. Much later, the teenage martyr was declared a patriot by the French and was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909.
As a recent article in Smithsonian magazine* pointed out, Joan's name and face have been used to promote everything from faith and feminism to goat cheese and canned beans. The website for Joan of Arc brand beans notes, “Joan of Arc was an amazing woman—she lived and died for her beliefs. We think Joan would have been proud of the beans that bear her name.” Hmm...it doesn’t sound like Joan focused much on the corporal, much less what she was having for lunch. We haven’t had the beans, but we can tell you that at least the cheese does her proud. The brand is now in its 90th year and there are many varieties of cheese sold under the Joan of Arc label (Jeanne d’Arc in France—the name is changed on American labels). Brie, Gruyère and other cheeses have made their way to these shores, and Joan of Arc has recently extended its line to include a goat Brie and goat cheese logs in four flavors.
*“France’s Leading Lady,” by Amy Crawford, Smithsonian, June 2007.
Joan Of Arc on her white steed, no longer fighting the English but championing cheese—here, the delicious Goat Brie.
About Goat Cheese
Chèvre, the French word for goat cheese (and the goat itself), is made from 100% goat’s milk. It has a characteristically tart flavor (tartness is a relative term, when compared with cheeses from other animals). Goat cheese grows increasingly complex in flavor when aged and can range from mild and creamy to earthy (the “goaty” flavor that doesn’t impact the younger cheeses, including the Joan of Arc cheeses).
Chèvre is considered a gourmet, high-end cheese (it’s more expensive than cow’s milk cheese because goats are smaller animals and yield so much less milk). Yet, overall despite higher prices, demand for goat cheese is growing in the U.S., with a 12.5% increase in sales nationwide.† Goat’s milk is higher in protein than cow’s milk, richer, more concentrated in flavor and equally full of calcium. But there’s another bonus: Goat’s milk—and goat cheese—is easier to digest, making it a great alternative for lactose-intolerant cheese lovers. (Factoid: It takes only 45 minutes to digest goat cheese, as opposed to four hours for cow’s milk cheese.)
†Source: Perishables Group FreshFacts® Powered by ACNielsen (1/27/07).
Joan Of Arc Goat Cheeses
Joan of Arc’s goat cheese include logs and a petit goat Brie (it is called “petit” because it has a 4-inch diameter and a standard Brie is 11 to 11.8 inches in diameter).
Goat Brie. Regular Brie, named for the French province in which it originated, is a soft ripened cheese made from cow’s milk in a flat round disc shape. While it can be made in many places, only two Bries, made in the north of France, are A.O.C. protected origins. Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun are both made from raw cow’s milk; the cheese from the town of Melun is a bit more rustic in style. Both are covered with the Penicillium candidum mold, which creates the bloomy, white edible exterior.
In appearance, a goat Brie looks like cow’s milk cheese, with a soft milky interior and a firm, rounded rind. But the taste is something special—even to dyed-in-the-wool (or dyed-in-the-hide) Brie lovers.
Brie should be eaten when it is “affine” or “en point”—fully ripened—and should always be served at room temperature so that its full texture and flavor shows. Brie cold from the refrigerator is hard and rubbery. Our goat brie was perfectly ripe, just slightly runny, and absolutely delicious. It disappeared off the plate.
Goat Logs. If you like goat cheese, you can like it in four flavors: Natural, Cranberry and Cinnamon, Fig and Peppadew. Natural and Peppadew are savory flavors, fig is modestly sweet and Cranberry and Cinnamon is practically cheesecake.
- The goat cheese logs have a textbook fresh goat cheese texture: They can be cut into rounds or spread on bread or crackers.
- They are very versatile, as you’ll see in the Serving Suggestions that follow.
Far beyond being part of a cheese board, they can be served individually with salads at lunch or dinner, as a cheese course or as dessert cheeses.
- With green salads, add a wedge of the Brie at the side of the salad plate, or a round slice of the log at the center of the plate.
- For a main course at lunch, serve a salade composée. Arrange greens on a large plate along with the cheese and other items: grilled or marinated vegetables, cold sliced meat, seafood, boiled egg, etc.
- For breakfast or brunch, use chèvre on a bagel with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.
- For an hors d’oeuvre, place on a slice of baguette, lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and quickly broiled until the cheese bubbles.
Dessert, Tea Or Snack
- With fruit and nuts, virtually any berry or tree fruit goes well with brie. Dried dates are wonderful and always available (serve them with top-quality pistachios). But you can stray beyond that, use your palate and choose what’s ripe and in season. A fan of ripe mango or papaya is delicious. Of course, you can serve figs with the Fig Brie and dried cranberries with the Cranberry and Cinnamon Brie.
- With nuts, think walnuts, pecans, almonds or pistachios.
- With graham crackers or sweet biscuits, Cranberry and Cinnamon Brie is almost like cheesecake. Look for great graham crackers, like Starr Ridge or Tiny Trapeze (available at Whole Foods Markets).
- Layer the top of the brie with walnuts, currants or sun-dried tomatoes (or half of each).
- Cover the top with pesto.
- With the Brie, pair fruity red wines such as Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon) or Burgundy (Pinot Noir).
- The goat cheeses go well with Rhone reds and white wines such as Pouilly-Fume and Sancerre. Many people love Chardonnay (White Burgundy) with goat cheese, but the delicate fresh cheeses should be paired with a lighter white.
JOAN OF ARC CHEESE
Chevre Logs, Goat Brie
Certified kosher by Tablet K
- Goat Brie
$3.99 to $4.99
- Goat Logs
$3.49 to $4.49
Purchase at supermarkets and
other food retailers nationwide.
Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change.
Festival of Chèvres: four goat cheese logs—Natural, With Cranberry & Cinnamon, WIth Fig and With Peppadew—and a goat Brie.
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