The goat cheese log you will enjoy this month comes from the Montchevré Cheese Company in Belmont, Wisconsin. Though it is American-made, the company's recipes, methods, and makers come from a long line of French cheesemakers.
Arnaud Solandt and Jean Rossard are partners in the Montchevré Cheese Company. Both men are descendants of generations of cheesemakers from Poitou in central France, which is still the heart of France's goat cheesemaking region. When they immigrated to the States in the mid-1980's and saw the burgeoning popularity of goat cheese (“chèvre”) in this country, they decided to put their heritage—and years of experience—into a new adventure. After much searching for the perfect situation, they found a small Wisconsin cheese factory with a goat farm right across the street. In 1988, Montchevré began making goat cheese using 5,000 pounds of milk each week. That may sound like a lot, but 5,000 pounds produced a very small amount of cheese. Fortunately, the quality was impressive, and they have won dozens of state, national, and international awards ever since. Most recently, their product won "Best in Class" in the 2008 World Championship Cheese Contest.
Today Montchevré has over 100 employees that process three million pounds of milk each year. Though the company has grown and has modernized some equipment, it is still relatively small, and the emphasis is still on quality. Cheese is still made the same way—by hand—in the tradition of their French ancestors, with the focus on creating the most superb product possible.
Montchevré uses only fresh, 100% natural goat's milk; no hormones or preservatives are added. They use milk produced by Amish farmers who are local to the Wisconsin and Iowa region. For most lactose-intolerant adults and children, goat cheese is a delicious alternative to cheese made from cows' milk. Plus, goat cheese has twice the calcium of cream cheese and half the saturated fat and fat calories. It's truly a nutritious AND healthy indulgence!
Arnaud and Jean have a strong partnership, each participating fully in company decision making. They share a commitment to the highest standards of quality cheesemaking. As Arnaud says, "I couldn't do it without Jean. And he couldn't do it without me. In eighteen years of working together, we've never had a fight. If we disagree, we always find a compromise position."