Chèvre (pronounced "SHEV-ruh" or sometimes simply "SHEV") is the French word for a female goat, but in the culinary arts, it refers to cheese made from goat's milk. Since goat's milk contains less lactic acid than cow's milk, people who are lactose intolerant often find they can enjoy chèvre without symptoms. Young fresh chèvre is a creamy cheese with no rind; When adding chèvre to a cheese platter, start with the youngest, softest, mildest cheese and proceed to the strongest, driest, most mature cheese. Chèvre must be at room temperature to display its full range of flavors and aromas, so take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to serving time.
Arguably, the best way to enjoy chèvre is on a fresh French baguettewith a glass of wine. A crisp Sauvignon pairs well with younger chèvre, and when aged, a woody chardonnay makes a good companion. A fruity red will complement a warmed goat cheese.
Chèvre softens but won't completely melt when you heat it. This makes it good to use in pasta dishes and on pizza. Depending on its age (remember, younger is softer), chèvre can be spread on crackers for making canapés, or used as an ingredient in salads.