Belmont Wisconcin's Montchevre cheese plant makes French style goat cheeses. They have been at it since 1989 when they took over a 4,000 square foot cheddar plant and have grown to one of America's leading goat cheese makers housed in a 110,000 square foot facility that sources goat milk from 300 farms and produces over 250,000 pounds of goat cheese a week. Their head cheese maker, Jean Rossard - the son of a French cheese maker - grew up in France and brought classic French cheese making skills to rural Wisconsin. Manager Arnaud Soland also hails from France where his Grandmother made cheese.
Montchevre models its Bucherone Cheese after French Bucheron cheese which originates in France's Loire valley. Bucheron translates as "lumberjack" in English and probably derives from the finished cheese's resemblance to a log. Montchevre ages Bucherone for 5 to 10 weeks. The young cheese is crumbly white all the way through with a tangy, lemony mushroomy tast and aroma. As it ages it starts turning beigey white with a rich creamy texture and has more leathery, grassy and goaty notes. I am drinking a Poire Domfront perry with this and it interacts nicely with both the cheese's crumbly center and the gooey rim. The crumbley interior melts in your mouth and leaves a nice lemony flavor that highlights the tartness in the perry while also calling attention to the perry's light sweet notes. The perry's carbonation does a little palate cleansing of the creamy rim and some of the lemony center but leaves a very pleasant fruit and lemon linger with a light sweet note. A slice of the cheese containing equal amounts of the gooey rim and crumbly center on a slice of baguette followed by a sip of perry produces the best bite. Bucherone will also pair nicely with sweeter meads, apple ice wines, and brown ales and sometime soon I will try it with some Junmai Sake.