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Thursday, January 28, 2010

California Crottin and Book Giveaway Winner!

By this point you all know how I feel about goat cheese. My passion for the goaty goodness borders on the ridiculous. Today it's all about Redwood Hill Farm from California and their tasty little Crottin.

Before we get into the tasty cheese, let's talk for a minute about the actual farm and the cheesemakers behind some of my favorite goat products. Redwood Hill Farm is sustainably farmed. They are also one of the few certified humane-raised and handled and were the first goat dairy in the U.S.A. to be named such. That's all well and good, but what does it mean to be "certified humane"?

For Redwood Hill Farm it means
The label assures consumers that a meat, poultry, egg or dairy product has been produced according to HFAC's precise standards for humane farm animal treatment. Animals must receive a nutritious diet free of antibiotics or hormones and must be raised with shelter, resting areas and space that are sufficient to support natural behavior.
The standards can be found here if you're interested in reading more about it. Remember when the label "organic" meant something? Now it feels like everyone is doing "organic" food. Organic used to be a word primarily used for small farmers doing small production, not anymore though. Anyone with enough money can become certified organic.

I think that having the humane raised and handled label is a good idea-at least right now. When I see this label on a product I will know that the animals were taken care of from conception to slaughter. One of my favorite regulations is
Cages, crates and tie stalls are among the forbidden practices, and animals must be free to do what comes naturally. For example, chickens are able to flap their wings and dust bathe, and pigs have the space to move around and root.
What that means if you're a goat is that you get to be a goat. You can nibble, play, jump, be mischievous, get shelter from the elements, and chat with your goaty friends.

While I am happy for the new labeling, I am also saddened that it's necessary. Shouldn't all animals be raised humanely?

Ok, enough of my soapbox spewings, let's talk about the cheese. While I have enjoyed a few of their products before like their Camellia and Kefir, the Crottin remains my favorite. When young it is a creamy, acidic, citrus zesty, slightly earthy cheese. As it ages and becomes more firm (perfect for grating over pasta) the saltiness is brought up and the goatiness becomes more pronounced. Hay, barnyard and white mushrooms are more prominent as well.

Cheese is one of my favorite things for breakfast. Take a few slices of the crottin, put it on a crusty bread and put it under the broiler. The cheese melts into an ooey, gooey pile of earthy, milky, goaty goodness. At 3oz. you could share with a friend, or you could be like me and keep it all for yourself.


Now, for the winner of the Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin book giveaway. And the winner is...lucky #26, Nickolay! Thanks for all of you for telling me about your favorite cheese through comments and email. Some of them I'd written about before and some of them are going to be featured in upcoming posts. If you have any suggestions for me, cheesy books you love, a cheese I've just GOT to try, send me an email: cheeseisalive@gmail.com

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