Mont St. Francis: Goat Cheese for the Adventurous

January 18, 2011

Mont St. Francis is another fantastic cheese from Capriole Farmstead Goat Cheese of Indiana.  It is different from Capriole’s chevre-style goat cheeses (e.g., O’Banon, Sofia, Wabash Cannonball), but is no less appealing.  Mont St. Francis is a cheese for those who appreciate full flavors and rich texures.

mont-st-francis-cheese-by-cheesechatter-january-2011Mont St. Francis is a farmstead-produced, raw goat’s milk cheese. It is a semi-soft cheese with a washed rind. The cheese is aged 4-8 months; young cheeses are firm and become softer as they mature.

Our sample of Mont St. Francis barely gives hint to its washed rind surface.  Photos of Mont St. Francis often show this cheese with a mottled orange rind, but our sample’s rind is completely covered with white surface molds.  The powdery molds leave a fine dust on fingers and plates. The milk-white cheese paste is shiny and uniform like pudding.  The cheese is smooth and springy to the touch.

Mont St. Francis is a pungent cheese, but not offensive unless held directly under the nose. The paste smells like baby spit-up and sea water.  The rind has a musty cellar aroma.

Mont St. Francis is strongly flavored and has rich mouth feel. Its flavors are nutty, sour and very tangy. It has a pervasive mineral flavor that is like water with a heavy mineral content.  The cheese finishes sharply and leaves a citrus-like sourness long in the mouth. Mont St. Francis’s texture is smooth, rich and pasty.

We all liked this cheese, yet a little goes a long way. Among our tasters, Mont St. Francis had greater appeal with those who appreciate strongly-flavored washed rind cheeses.

Mont St. Francis is a cheese that invites lingering and sharing, but choose guests carefully. Although my kids enjoyed this cheese, I’d be reluctant to serve it to juveniles unless they’ve been exposed to washed rind cheeses.

Mont St. Francis is well-behaved out of refrigeration and easy to slice with a butter knife. It would be a great addition to a party plate.

Purchase Notes: We purchased Mont St. Francis from Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).

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