The Godmother of Goat Cheese

On-Wisconsin-coverToday my post is a link to an article in On Wisconsin that I wrote this spring about Anne Topham, the godmother of goat cheese.  Anne milks her goats and makes her cheeses on Fantôme Farm in The Driftless Area just a few miles from my own 44 acres.

Anne-in-goat-barnWisconsin is becoming a Cornucopia of artisanal cheeses, and Anne blazed the trail.  Because she only sells her cheese locally, I consider myself a very lucky person to live near her.

The article begins:

When Anne Topham gave up academia to make the perfect chèvre, she had no idea that a herd of other artisans would follow in her footsteps.

Anne Topham did not set out to become the Midwest’s godmother of goat cheese, but she has earned the title.  Hailed by the New York Times (read NYT article here ) as Wisconsin’s grand dame of chèvre, a soft goat cheese originating in France, she is acclaimed by foodies far and wide for helping launch the area’s artisanal cheese upsurge.

In the beginning, Topham’s ambitions lay elsewhere.  In the seventies, she was a UW grad student pursuing a doctorate in the history of education.  But she took a break from her research to help her father with spring planting in the rolling hills of western Iowa.


Photos by Andy Manis

“I went from the seventeenth floor of Van Hise to watching cows calve in the pasture and learning how to disc a field. I never went back,” says Topham.  “Living this close to the most elemental parts of life keeps things in perspective for me in a way that – as much as I love the stacks – the library didn’t.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Do you love goat cheese?  Let me  know what you think about this creamy confection.  Sound off with a comment about your best (or worst) experience with goat cheese.   I wasn’t always fond of goat cheese, but when it is really fresh, I love it now.

2 replies

  1. Oh how I LOVE goat cheese! And I adore goats. Someday I’ll raise a few, if only to craft my own cheese. Perhaps in Scotland? This chapter in Ontario is for scrumptious organic veggie growing, but we’re very lucky to have an excellent goat dairy in Wellington County, which I plan to visit.

    Thanks for the props! And what a special space this is. So lovely to read your story of a similar journey toward simplicity and fulfillment.

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