I was visiting St. Louis and wanted to pick up a couple of pieces of cheese to have before dinner. As I glanced over the cheese case, I asked the woman behind the counter if they had any Missouri cheese. She pointed me in the direction of two. The first I have been able to get back home, so I went with the second, Coeur de la Creme Plain from Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, MO, about an hour south of St. Louis.
Steve and Veronica Baetje started making goat cheese as a hobby in the early 2000s. They had their first taste of success when the 88 heart shaped pieces of goat cheese they brought to the St. Louis Wine Festival were quickly devoured. Since then they have sought to make high quality cheese in small quantities by using only the best goat milk. Located in the Forche du Clos Valley, their goats drink from a natural spring fed creek and are fed locally grown, hormone-free alfalfa and grain when not grazing in the pasture. They regularly host visitors to the farm for functions, overnight stays, or just to tour the barn, a 1914 kit barn from Sears and Roebuck.
They make a variety of cheeses, but the Coeur de la Creme Plain is a fresh goat cheese with nothing added, just goat milk, culture, rennet and salt. It won first place from the American Cheese Society 2011 and 2012. They use it as a base for their flavored goat cheeses which includes styles such as chocolate raspberry or pumpkin walnut. We like the fresh creaminess of the Coeur de la Creme, which is molded in a heart just like those first pieces they ran out of. It retails for $12 for a 5oz piece, which is a little pricey, but the quality is excellent and worth the extra few bucks.
Cheese: Coeur de la Creme Plain
Country of Origin: USA, Missouri