@ The Farmers Market: Local handmade goat cheese popular

What a difference 29 years make in the culinary world.

On Oct. 24, 1985, The Advocate’s food editor, the late Pat Baldridge, noted that Californian Jack Lirio, in Baton Rouge to teach a series of cooking classes, was “less than enthusiastic about the highly touted ‘California cuisine.’ ”

“They’re putting goat cheese in everything!” she quoted him as saying. “Goat cheese was originally very trendy. Alice Waters started it,” but has become overused, he lamented.

Many south Louisiana shoppers would disagree with him. They remain enthusiastic about locally handmade goat cheese — some gourmet and some more utilitarian, but all delicious — they can find at their farmers markets.

What is goat cheese or chèvre (French for goat)? It’s a white goat’s-milk cheese with a herbaceous, tart flavor and a texture that ranges from moist and creamy to dry and semifirm.

It comes in cylinder, disc, cone or pyramid shapes, or sometimes made into feta style and crumbled. It also can be coated in herbs, pepper, edible ash or leaves.

Store it, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Discard when it develops a sour taste.