One of the great benefits of my job is having the opportunity to taste not just wines and spirits, but also the cheeses that pair with them. Recently, I was sent a sample of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery’s Bonne Bouche, a beautiful ash-ripened goat cheese that easily achieves the level of succulence and expressiveness that its French counterparts do.
In fact, it does remind me, in a number of ways, of a well-made Selles sur Cher. It’s a nutty, piquant, subtly sweet disk, about the size of a thick hockey puck, with a perfectly calibrated tanginess providing lift to the snowy paste whose own flavor is reminiscent of the delicious room-temperature butter you’re served in great restaurants in France. Citrus notes dominate here, though there’s also a touch of walnut skin and hard apricot. Savory and mouthwatering, with the rind providing high tones to this immensely appealing, poplar-wood-ash-ripened goat cheese, the Bonne Bouche is yet another reminder of how intensely impressive our American cheese production is, and how proudly it can stand on the world stage. This beauty was awarded a gold at the 2011 World Cheese Awards, and it’s easy to see--and taste--why. Try it with a Soave, a Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp Riesling, or a good bottle of bubbly.