My friends know me so well. As a 'thank you,' someone gave me two goat's milk cheeses. This one has managed to perfume my refrigerator and my office which houses the refrigerator, despite being locked away in a plastic tub in an effort to control the situation. God, I love cheese.

The little round label stuck to its plastic tub by moisture exhaled by this diminutive fuzzy, runny yet crumbly, pale yellow and white cheese reads:

Le Gariotin

Fromage artisanal au lait cru de Chèvre

Fabriqué en Quercy

(in a little oval)

140g à l'emballage

45% de Ma. Gr.

Les Gariottes
46500 Alvignac

I don't know French, and I'm no expert, but I do know a good cheese when it tries to climb off my plate.

In cross section, this cheese is predominantly a soft white center which looks much like a conventional chèvre. It has that oddly crumbly yet stick-together texture of fresh chèvres although it is a bit softer and less grainy. But, the layer of cheese directly under the thin, tender rind of white mold is butter yellow and oozes at room temperature. I am willing to believe that the ratio of soft yellow to stiff white would change if I had waited for the cheese to ripen further, but I couldn't wait.

It spreads effortlessly and is perfectly creamy in the mouth. It has a wonderful strong but not overpowering nutty, grassy flavor with that unmistakable goat's milk tang finishing the experience. Except for the tang, the flavor reminds me strongly of my favorite cheese, Pié d'Angloys.

I tried it spread on bits of baguette, and when no one was looking, I tried it without a vehicle. Absolutely delicious. It's a small cheese, but luckily the smell scares off the faint of heart and I don't have to share too much.

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