goatAugust is National Goat Cheese Month in the US, which is as good a reason as any to salute the little ruminants who bring us so much goodness. These Moroccan goats live in the countryside near Essaouira. They are enjoying one of their favorite munchies, argan nuts (more about that another time), and of course, giving tourists something to write home about.

Their French cousins, having no argan trees handy, have to be content with a picnic table under an oak tree. They contribute the milk that makes the cheese that makes the lunch at this farm in the Luberon.

The curious and friendly beasts also give diners a nudge or two and clop onto the table for some socializing. Several Augusts ago, I picnicked under the oak tree with good friends and several goats. The ten kinds of cheese we had for lunch would have made excellent review material for Culture, had the cheese mag existed then.

Goat cheese is celebrated in August for a reason. Most goat cheeses peak when they are on the young side, made from milk drawn after the goats consume a summer feast of wild berries and fresh herbs. The more food choices the animals have, the more flavorful the milk, and the better the cheese.

These little guys are down on the farm in Mississippi. They are being lovingly raised on the G and M Goat Farm, before going into Gloria’s goat meat chili. Gloria and Morris are goat meat missionaries, on a campaign to raise the consciousness of meat eaters to an understanding of goat meat’s healthful properties—and they sell goat cheese, as well.

The couple’s portable kitchen can be spotted at the Ocean Springs Fresh Market and other south Mississippi venues. In addition to boudin, jerky and other meat products, Gloria and Morris offer tastings of herbed and garlicky fresh chevre spreads. I tasted some really good ones at the ribbon-cutting for The Lightered Knot, a community kitchen in Wiggins.

Here in Fez, fresh chevre is on offer throughout the medina, artfully displayed on palm fronds. The taste is light, the texture fluffy, perfect for spreading on toast or crackers as is, or with herbs mixed in. Just a couple of days ago, I happened on a simple recipe for chevre with tomato confit, posted to Five And Spice. Looks like something I’ll have to try straight away!

Goats not only give us great cheeses for a picnic, they give us bota bags to carry wine and other beverages to out-of-the-way picnic spots. Originally used by shepherds of Spain and Portugal, the bags provide an environmentally friendly beverage transport option.

Challenged pairing goat cheese with wine? Here are a few suggestions for making a great match.

Goats of the world, thank you!

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