I was a big fan of Belle Chevre goat cheese when I was first introduced to it a year ago, but after a visit to the creamery in Elkmont, Alabama, I am now certifiably obsessed. I love the story of how Tasia Malakasis, the current owner, discovered the cheese when she was shopping at Dean & DeLuca in New York City and saw that it was made in Alabama near her hometown of Huntsville. Two years later she had moved back to Alabama, bought the creamery, and now continues the tradition of making exceptional artisan goat cheese.

This is fresh goat cheese made in the French style and it's absolutely the best goat cheese I've tasted. Of course, I'm now biased because I've visited the creamery and witnessed the care and attention that is put into each log. It's got a bit of tang, as goat cheese generally does, but it's not too much of a "whang", and this cheese is wonderfully light and creamy. I want to spread it on everything I eat.

After our visit to the creamery, we went to Tasia's home where she demonstrated a couple of her favorite recipes, including one for a goat cheese gratin. It's an easy cheese appetizer that you can serve with baguette slices or crackers, but I really just wanted to eat it with a spoon. Honestly, I just couldn't get enough of this tasty tomato-cheese dish. I've made it four times in the past month and everyone I've served it too has loved it as much as I do. I made a few small adaptations based on the ingredients I had on hand, but I don't think Tasia will mind. The goat cheese is still the star.

Goat Cheese Gratin
Add 2 packages of Belle Chevre Confetti goat cheese crumbles to a baking or gratin dish. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of fresh rosemary and oregano. Combine about 3/4 to 1 cup of tomato pasta sauce with one teaspoon minced garlic. Top the tomato sauce with a couple of additional tablepsoons of rosemary and oregano. Broil for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden brown. Serve with baguette slices or crackers.

Or a really big spoon. And, to make your enjoyment even more complete, serve with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc. It's a great wine to pair with goat cheese.

Check out even more of Tasia's recipes and Belle Chevre's goat cheese products (montrachet-style logs, fromage blanc, confetti crumbles) on their website. If you enjoy goat cheese, you own it to yourself to try Belle Chevre.