Friday, November 5, 2010

Chabrin: Today's Lunch

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


  1. I'm so jealous, I had canned chicken & rice soup for luch. I now have lunch envy

  2. Yum! This almost sounds like Tomme dolce, have you tried that before? Some of your cheeses are so hard to find so I'm excited because I think I might be able to get this one close by. A while back you wrote about a goat cheese that is covered in ash and you eat like an apple. I don't remember the name but it was quoted at $100 to ship to me over night. I passed =)

  3. I'll have to try Tomme Dolce, Cass. Crazy story about the goat cheese in ash -- I'm trying to remember which one that might have been. You could try Humboldt Fog, which is readily available. It's a goat cheese with a line of ash running through it.

    Thanks for the feedback!