Yes, this really was my lunch. I had the day to work at home and I was photographing cheeses – pudgy, stinky things – when I remembered that I had a hunk of this gorgeously nutty French goat cheese in the fridge, left over from a department party.
I also had a pile of fruit and veg on the counter, so I decided to forage for a perfect combination. A little crusty bread, some grapes, a mellow breakfast radish. When I ate this little plate, I thought, “Why do I ever eat anything else?”
There is no better lunch than a hunk of bread, a wedge of cheese, and something sweet and crispy on the side.
Chabrin is a perfect lunch cheese – it is mild without being inert. (So many “mellow cheeses” get lost on me; I want to like them, but they are like so many of the people I knew in high school – no personality.) I love a cheese that can wear bangles. Chabrin can wear bangles; she can wear big fake eyelashes. This is a goat cheese with razzmatazz.
The texture is exquisite – smooth and not at all gummy (or gamey) the way aged goat cheeses can be. The flavor is all hazelnut and toffee. Chabrin calls to mind salt caramel. Smooth, pleasantly salty, creamy.
Chabrin comes from the French Pyrenees, the same region that produces Ossau Iraty. I bought this wedge at Downtown Cheese in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market, where, sadly, the monger couldn't tell me much about it -- although he consulted his Cheese Primer.
If cheeses were CDs, this would be on heavy rotation. Chabrin -- she is my new BFF.
|Chabrin, posing for pics at a Jesuit function|