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It’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month! Here’s how to celebrate it with America’s Best Goat Cheese.

It’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month! Here’s how to celebrate it with America’s Best Goat Cheese.
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If this post looks familiar to some of you, it’s because it was published last Tuesday, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, at The Daily Meal.com.  Since they edited it and didn’t include the recipes, I thought I’d send you the complete article, along with 3 recipes for 3 great sandwiches. So here goes:

Photo Credit: Laura Chenel

Goat Cheese doesn’t naturally spring to mind when you think of that good old American Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  That’s a shame because Goat Cheese has much to recommend it.  It’s far healthier than cow’s milk cheeses because it has 30 to 40 percent fewer calories and fat. And it has considerably more vitamins and minerals — 13 percent more calcium alone. To cap it all off, Goat Cheese has less lactose and it’s Gluten-Free. But all of this ignores how versatile and varied Goat Cheese has become. And no American producer is more responsible for that than Laura Chenel.

A Girl and her Goats. Photo Credit: SF Gate Frederic Larson

Yes, there is a Laura Chenel.  As a young Californian, Ms. Chenel was America’s first commercial producer of Goat Cheese.  And arguably no one has done as much to popularize Goat Cheese in this country.  In the 70s, Ms. Chenel’s passion for goats led her to France where she learned the art of Cheese-making in a series of apprenticeships with French makers of Chèvre. Returning home, she worked odd jobs while selling her cheese at local farmer’s markets and to shops.  Her big break came when no less than Alice Waters herself put “Laura Chenel’s Chèvre” on the menu of her iconic Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley.  It’s also believed that this may have been the first Goat Cheese Salad on an American menu.  The standing order for 50 lbs. of Goat Cheese a week allowed Ms. Chenel to quit her day jobs and pursue her passion full-time.

Photo Credit: Laura Chenel

Every year since, the company has moved the boundaries of goat cheese, creating a portfolio of Goat Cheese flavors. Their quality is unmatched and their variety seemingly endless.  Logs of Goat Cheese are now flavored with Summer Figs, Crushed Olives, Black Truffle, Pimento and Garlic, Garlic and Chives and Honey, all with the underpinning of Ms. Chenel’s superb Chèvre.  Small wonder, the company now sells more than two million pounds of cheese a year.   Their standards have never varied.

In 2006 Ms. Chenel sold her interest in the company to the Triballat family, French cheesemakers whose company, Rians, has made world-class Goat Cheese for four generations.  The Laura Chenel philosophy and portfolio of cheeses have remained steadfastly the same under Rians ownership.
Photo Credit: The New York Times

To celebrate National Grilled Cheese week, there’s one more reason for choosing Goat Cheese.  This time of year, Laura Chenel runs a “Celebrate Spring Milk” campaign which signals the arrival of the new “kids” which means goat’s milk is particularly plentiful, and fresh Goat Cheese should be top of mind.   You could choose to make your sandwich with any one of the many flavors mentioned earlier.  Or you could try one of these recipes to make National Grilled Cheese Month a Goat Cheese event to remember.

First, you could make a great Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich just by choosing one of Laura Chenel’s flavored Goat Cheeses.  Any one of them all by its lonesome would produce a fine sandwich.  As to bread, I’d avoid using American White.  As traditional as White Bread is in a grilled cheese sandwich, Goat Cheese is greatly enhanced by using by using heartier, healthier breads.  Choose Seven Grain or Whole Wheat or even Brioche.  Follow the cooking instructions for any one of our three recipes and take it from there.  Now on to the inventive recipes we picked up to showcase here:
Photo Credit: Cooking Light Magazine

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