[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

Here's a cheese you simply must eat, today if you can: Vermont Creamery's Bonne Bouche. I've been a fan of this one for ages and have been waiting for the perfect time to share it with you, which happens to be today, because it was on special at my local cheese shop.

Bonne Bouche is an intriguing goat cheese. Creamy, rich, buttery, salty, mushroomy, peppery, sour... the list goes on and on. It seems that every person who tastes it takes away something different. My first impression of Bonne Bouche was a solid salt and funk, but my friend, who sampled the very same cheese, sensed more of a mushroomy impact followed by a curt sour note. A second tasting revealed a distinct layer of cured bacon, and a third had me swearing I tasted a quick smack of crème fraîche. Bonne Bouche is all of these things, and that's what makes it such a winner.

And, just look at it! Covered with a layer of ashy peach fuzz-like mold, this diminutive bloomy rind sits nestled in a darling wooden crate, which gives the cheese a little support during packing and shipping. Bonne Bouche is incredibly runny and should be purchased only when it has lazily reposed across the entire expanse of its crate, and without the structure of the box, there's no way this cheese could ship outside of a sealed plastic container (which would prevent the cheese from ripening...and smelling up your refrigerator).

Aged for only ten days before it leaves its Vermont creamery, Bonne Bouche reaches perfect ripeness somewhere between eight and 15 days after that. The inside of the cheese should be entirely smooth and buttery, so if you've got an under ripe specimen with a moldy surface, allow the cheese to ripen in your refrigerator until it relaxes to the point that it nearly melts into its little crate. Then bring it to room temperature, set it on a plate, and allow Bonne Bouche to spread its creamy finger as far and wide as it likes. When you're done, control your urge to like lick the plate (or, don't).

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.


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