Truly good goat cheese is usually a European product. Mostly the French have mastered it, creating a silken textured fromage that just melts on the tongue. However there is competition coming from America's heartland, A simply made cheese is winning prizes and palates.It comes from a devout Mennonite couple who may live sparsely but produce luxurious wedges.
Regular contributor, Kim Severson wrote about Veronica and Steve Baetje in yesterday's New York Times Food section yesterday. Mrs Baetje is a bit unusual in these cynical and questioning times, she had made a pact with God.If He could make her business successful, she would talk about Him as much as she could, even putting Bible quotes on their labels..It paid off. Their chevre or goat cheese has beat out 2,600 competitors to earn a top ranking at the World Cheese Awards. However it could also be a gentle and strident way of handling the curds and whey too,.Goat's milk is more delicate than cow's milk, and it's' filled with tiny fragile fat globules. slosh it around for too long and the protein breaks down, Get rough with it and the curds are ruined and won't hold the cheese's most crucial ingredient moisture..Mrs. Baetje knows this and handles it with the utmost care.Yes there is Divine Intervention, but there's also inborn talent at work here too.
The extra care has paid off.Their cheese is becoming more and more popular. Much of it gets sold at farmers markets and by chef's around the Saint Louis vicinity.It can also be had at local whole Foods along with some Manhattan cheese shops.If you aren't near any of those, the Baetjes do have a website that sells their many flavors. Mrs. Baetje sells about 750 (!) pounds a week. The cheeses does have appeal. She lovingly hand shapes them into hearts and flavored with herbs along with the surprise one of pumpkin. There are also other variations such as Amoureux, a nutty aged cheese with a vein of ash. She tinkers constantly with the cheeses. There is also a Couer de la crème with cranberry and orange, perfect for a holiday brunch. Get their three pepper one for a party cheese board for something different. A great gift to any foodie is their marinated feta which is soaked with good Greek olive oil , herbs and decorated with a sun dried tomato.Cheese affectionados would love receiving their Miette, a sweet creamy cheese perfect for those holiday loaves.
Veronica and Steve Baetje believe that God has given success in their cheese business. Yet, their talent is also responsible for making excellent fromage de chevres. They are heavenly cheeses made with an earth bound love and determination.