Bijou: Tiny Goat Cheese Packs Big Flavor

May 3, 2011

Bijou is an excellent cheese.  One might snicker–as did my husband–at this goat cheese’s diminutive size.  Yet what petite Bijou lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor.  This American-made gem is one of the best goat cheeses we have tasted.  It is very rewarding and should not be missed.

bijou-cheese-by-cheesechatter-april-2011Bijou is a soft-to-semi-soft cheese produced by Vermont Butter & Cheese Co., in Vermont.  Bijou is made from pasteurized goat’s milk and matures for approximately 2 weeks before market.  Bijou is produced in a petite cylinder format.  Vermont Butter & Cheese delivers Bijou pre-packaged in a 2-cheese “micro-cave” that promotes ripening.

Bijou is a tiny crottin-style cheese plug.  Its deeply wrinkled rind has a buttery cream color.   The interior paste has a milky white core that is dense like clay.  The core is surrounded by a more translucent buttery paste that has a consistency similar to its core.

Bijou’s aroma is farmy: it smells of fresh cut grass, honeycomb, and barnyard.

Bijou is robust and goaty, with a texture that invites savoring.  Its flavors are direct, tangy and lemony tart.  It has a nice, underlying beeswax sweetness that balances its tart flavor.  Bijou’s pasty texture coats the tongue with flavor and encourages slow eating.

We loved Bijou!  It is one of the best goat cheeses we have tasted–American or French.  Bijou’s punch of flavor and goaty aroma reminded us of good French goat cheese.  Bijou is an excellent cheese and one that we look forward to sharing.  Its intimate size makes it a good choice for a small gathering.

Bijou behaves beautifully out of refrigeration; we left our cheese out for over an hour and it did not degrade.  Bijou is a cheese to linger over and savor.  I would consider it for a picnic if carefully packaged.

Purchase Notes:  We purchased Bijou at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).  The cheese is sold whole in a 2-oz. petite size.  We purchased two cheeses in a “micro-cave” package for 4-5 servings.

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