Chabis Feuille: A Leaf-Cloaked Goat Cheese
November 16, 2010
Chabis Feuille could settle for being just another tasty chevre from France, but this cheese pushes for distinction. At the cheese shop, I was smitten by Chabis Feuille, a small goat cheese plug tucked coyly inside a darkened chestnut leaf. I thought the leaf purely decorative, but we discovered that the leaf gives this cheese both beauty and flavor.
Chabis Feuille is a goat chevre from the Loire Valley region of France. It is produced in small cylinders. The cheese is wrapped in a chestnut leaf to aid its ripening. The leaf darkens to brown as the cheese ages.
Chabis Feuille looks like an over-sized marshmallow tucked inside a leaf jacket. The ivory paste is dense but not heavy. The cheese has light hatching on its top surface. Chabis Feuille looks dry and crumbly, but is actually soft, damp and pliable. The cheese has a faint damp leaf scent, even after the leaf is removed.
Chabis Feuille has a tart flavor that is border-line puckering. The paste is bright and lemony. The leaf wrap adds an underlying sweet flavor to the cheese. This sweet leaf flavor is similar to tea, without the bitterness; the most similar flavor we came up with is the grape leaf wrap on dolmas. The sweet leaf flavor leaves a brief after-taste. Chabis Feuille is light and velvety on the tongue.
We all liked Chabis Feuille during our tasting. The chestnut leaf sets Chabis Feuille apart from the average chevre by adding an interesting flavor and beautiful presentation. This is not an entry-level chevre, but one to try if seeking a twist on the familiar.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Chabis Feuille at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco). This cheese is purchased whole; our sample is about 5 oz. The whole cheese could be cut into 4-6 servings.