New Kentucky Food: Goat Cheese Ice Cream and Sorbet
Goat cheese ice cream did not sound like a good idea to me the first time I heard about it. To be honest, backing up a few years, goat cheese itself raised a lot of questions in my head, or, specifically, in my taste buds. Then I tasted the utterly creamy, not at all goat-y, snowy, spreadable cheeses Susan Miller produced at Bleugrass Chevre. A few months later, in one of those conversion moments, I stood in a crowded hotel basement in Louisville at a food tasting event and bit into a smooth button of fresh Sapori d'Italia's Agri alle Erbe, coated in some herbs, spices and olive oil. All of a sudden "I like goat cheese," became my default position. I was right on time, too, forming new taste preferences just as Lexington-Fayette County acquired two top-notch goat cheese producers.
Goat cheese ice cream? Not so fast. I first heard of it when I learned about a famous ice cream Mecca in Columbus, Ohio: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. I read a story about the place, and it mentioned goat cheese ice cream as one option—shocking! hard to imagine! Within the month, I learned from a friend that he had ordered pints of Jeni's ice cream shipped across several states so he could try it, and he found the ice cream superlative.
Jeni herself must be a generous soul. She has published a cookbook, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home, for which she reformulated all her ice creams so home cooks could replicate her ice creams' tastes and texture at home. I tried one (no goat cheese) and labeled it "Nine Bowl Ice Cream." My Best Man labeled it, "More, please."
Imagine our happiness when a kind friend who is a wonderful cook offered us homemade (Jeni's) Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries at a sweet Father's Day event. I took a first eager bite...hmmmmm....tangy, and I wasn't sure I liked it a lot. I took a small second bite, and it became a favorite ice cream flavor. Just like that. The tang of goat cheese cuts against ice cream's fundamental tendency to be too sweet. The roasted cherries punctuate every bite with a fruit-tart offset to the sweet-salty-tangy ice cream that surrounds them.
Susan Miller and Elaine Shay began selling goat cheese sorbet this year, building something new with Susan's goat's premium milk. I am eager to try it soon at the Lexington Farmers Market. We're a goat cheese ice cream/sorbet town now. We've become a juicery town, too, with the soaring success of the new Weekly Juicery. We've become a craft brewery town within the past six months. What an amazing time to live in this fine place, watching and tasting our deepening connection to fine, local, handmade, richly flavored, intriguing food and drink.
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