Thursday, May 24, 2012

Laura Chenel Melodie Goat Brie

Now located in the state-of-the-art new creamery in Sonoma wine country, Laura Chenel's Chèvre has been in operation since the late 1970’s. Laura Chenel was one of a small group of women cheesemakers to spearhead the production of goat's milk cheeses in the United States.

Having always been passionate about goats, Laura started her dairy in a former snail-processing plant in Santa Rosa. In 2006 she sold the company to French family cheese producers, Laiteries H. Triballat, who continue the tradition of Laura Chenel’s cheesemaking of both fresh and aged cheese.

Milk for production comes from 16 different goat dairies, thirteen of which are in California and three in Nevada. High quality milk is crucial to excellent cheese production and the company has very close relationships with their producers to ensure excellent animal health, nutrition and general well being.

Launched in the autumn of 2011, Mélodie is an “American original” made with fresh, pasteurized goat’s milk and named for its black and white rind, reminiscent of piano keys. After cultures and microbial rennet are added to the heated milk, coagulation takes place and the curd is cut and poured into forms to drain. Each 3 lb wheel is flipped several times to achieve optimal drainage before being turned-out and coated in vegetable ash to help promote the formation of the rind. After a few days, a delicate dusting of white mold starts to bloom, creating the signature grey and white rind.

The texture of Mélodie is smooth, pliant and supple. The interior paste is bone white in color offset by the delicate, predominantly black and gray rind. Mélodie is delicious when eaten young and, like many soft-ripening cheeses, develops more complex flavors for up to 60-100 days. Flavors are accessibly mild and cream-like, with a gentle lactic tang and a very pleasant balance of salt on the finish.

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