By Riley Thornton

Iâ€TMm a millennial who moonlights on weekends as a promoter of goat cheese! My mission is to entice shoppers to sample this creamy, tangy, twangy delicacy form of cheese. Goat cheese is incredibly satisfying. Hereâ€TMs the skinny on goat cheese when compared to cowâ€TMs milk-based cheese, it is:

· Lower in fat
· Higher in calcium
· Lower in lactose and easier on digestion

There are many different types of goat dairy products, with goat cheese being the most well known. Chevre, pronounced “chev”, is the French (or fancy) name for spreadable, soft goat cheeses. These cheeses have a milder taste, but may come in many different flavors from sweet to savory. It doesnâ€TMt stop there; you can try goat Feta cheese, goat Gouda cheese and many rolled goat cheese logs. Goat dairy also includes goat cheese yogurt and goat milk.

A single serving of Chevre is packed with more flavor than cream cheese. Substitute Chevre goat cheese for cream cheese on breakfast bagels, in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich, instead of sour cream on a baked potato or butter in any of your baked goods! Goat cheese should be a staple on your grocery list, as itâ€TMs incredibly versatile. Having company over? Look no further than a log of Chevre rolled in herbs and garlic. Break out some whole-wheat crackers and your favorite pepper jelly to impress your guests with your sophisticated taste.

This creamy, velvety cheese goes through a special process that local goat farms take pride in perfecting. At Noble Springs Dairy in Franklin, goats are milked twice a day. The milk is then cooled and pasteurized at 145 degrees. After pasteurization, the actual cheese making process begins, depending on the type of cheese being made. Different cheeses require different pressing methods to achieve the correct consistency.

You can see this all for yourself! Many local farms and creameries have tours available where you can see where and how the magic happens. Support your local goats by trying these tangy cheeses! My personal foodie-favorite way to enjoy goat cheese is on a grilled sandwich. YUM!

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Fig and Honey

Makes 4 servings:


• 2 teaspoons honey
• ¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind
• 1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese • 8 (1-ounce) slices of cinnamon-raisin bread • 2 tablespoons fig preserves
• 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped • Cooking spray
• 1 teaspoon powdered sugar

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring until well blended. Spread 1 tablespoon goat cheese mixture on 4 slices of raisin bread; top each slice with 1 ½ teaspoons preserves and ½ teaspoon basil. Top with remaining bread slices. Lightly coat outside of bread with cooking spray
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is lightly toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook). Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Sprinkle with sugar.

Nutrition Information (1 serving)
Calories: 243
Fat: 8.5 grams
Protein: 9.8 g
Carbohydrates: 33.1 g
Fiber: 2.5 g
Sodium: 326mg

Riley is attending the Dietetic Internship Program at Vanderbilt. Sheâ€TMs originally from Huntsville, AL and she graduated from Auburn University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. Following her Vanderbilt internship she will take a national board exam and become a Registered Dietitian. Riley hopes to continue connecting and building relationships with others in the future, by incorporating nutrition and physical activity into their lives while making it easy and fun