Feta or goat cheese. You know them both, you love them both (even if one more than the other), and you kinda know what feta is but you’re sure that goat cheese is made from goat’s milk. But is that information enough for this battle of the titans? No. No, it is not. These are cheeses with serious history and they deserve the publicity that we’re about to give them. Drive down the road of cheese knowledge with us and come out with the info that you need to make one of the most important decisions of your life (probably). Let’s meet the fighters.
Just like Sting or Oprah, Feta is the kind of one-name-no-surname superstar in its own field. It originated in Greece and is a brined curd white cheese made from, and this may be a bit of a shocker.. goat milk. Well, partly goat milk and yes we will be more precise, it can contain up to 30% goat milk while the majority is sheep milk. And you think we’re kidding about that 30%? Well we are not, and neither is the EU.
That’s right if you want to make an authentic Feta cheese the EU has to approve it. They don’t have to come over and do it but, since 2002 Feta has been deemed a “Protected designation of origin” product. Which means you have to follow a certain set of rules for your cheese to be called “Feta”. We mentioned the 30/70% goat/sheep ratio, but the Feta has to be made in certain areas of Greece and the milk has to come from those areas. And you thought cheesemakers have it easy. The taste and texture of Feta is familiar to us all. It usually comes in blocks, it’s served with oregano and/or black pepper and submerged in the brine. It’s salty with a sour kick to it, and it goes well with a salad and some chicken that we can only assume the greek gods made all three in the same afternoon.
Unlike our Greek friend the Feta, goat cheese isn’t defined by rules enforced by the European Union. No, goat cheese is a much broader term that’s been in use for a few thousand years now. That’s right, goat cheese is one of the oldest dairy products that we, as a species, came up with. It makes sense then that it can be made in a very simple way, that is by allowing raw milk to curdle naturally and then draining it. That’s the most primitive way of making it but don’t get us wrong, if humans continued making it in this manner, we would be fine. But like we said, goat cheese has been here for thousands of years and there are by now, many ways of making it. You can buy it fresh and soft or hard and aged, or anything in between really.
Not only can you get it in any shape, size and type, but you can also get any type of shape and size pretty much anywhere in the world. China, Japan, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, Venezuela and Turkey. All in all if you’re travelling pretty much anywhere you’ll probably be able to find some authentic goat cheese, heck maybe even a goat cheese-making tradition. In case you’re really unlucky and you don’t manage to get a taste of this magic cheese, there are quite a few goat cheese substitutes you might like.
As far as the taste goes goat milk is quite similar to good old cow milk, also because it has some fatty acids that are not found in cow’s milk, the taste can be more on the tart side. But the cheese itself has been here way before refrigerators so you can imagine it being quite salty as salt was a way to keep food fresh back in the old days.
Let the Battle Begin: Feta vs Goat Cheese
Chances are, you have a favourite in this fight. These two kinds of cheese can be found all over the world and you probably tasted them both, but that’s the thing. Tasting goat cheese is a kind of adventure. There are so many types that even if your family makes the stuff and you’ve eaten it your whole life you can still go somewhere and taste a different kind. But Feta has a reputation that’s attached to it. Your whole life you think that you’ve tried it, you may even think it’s your favourite cheese and suddenly, someone gives you something they call Feta and you’re confused, embarrassed and humiliated. But this can be a good thing too, heck the EU regulates the stuff so in this day and age you’ll probably be able to find an authentic Feta anywhere. But you’ll always find authentic goat cheese anytime anyplace. If it’s from a goat it’s authentic. Simple as that.
The price is another point. Feta really isn’t that pricey, but goat cheese can go from a dollar to some ridiculous numbers depending on where you are and the cheese-making history of the region. But overall we feel safe in calling it a draw.
The taste is a tricky category. A completely subjective round of this match, so we have to go for a bold move and talk about the nutritive value of each one of the cheese (but we’ll get back to the taste for a little bit at least don’t you worry).
Let’s get it out of the way. Feta has some great qualities to it, compared to the goat stuff it is much more on the probiotic side of the food pyramid, so digestion is definitely going to be an easier task. But goats give you proteins. Goat cheese is richer in calories, it is fatter and it has more proteins. So as long as you’re aware what each of them can do to your digestion, you’re set to munch.
The fact is, is all about your taste. There’s no doubt that even people who don’t go down the cheese lane that often, are going to like Feta. It’s a great side dish for many meals. It’s light, it’s delicious. The goat cheese, however, does range from light to heavy and aged. But that’s the beauty of it, even if you tried and didn’t like it, there’s probably a variation that soothes you better. Just down judge it just by one type of it.
There is no winner at the end of this battle. Well, there is, it’s just not a cheese. It’s us, the cheese lovers. No matter which one you like, keep trying new kinds, keep experimenting by adding them to your meals and keep enjoying the thrill of it all.
We got another interesting foody article you will love. Check out: Is Sea Salt Healthier than Table Salt?