Goat’s Milk Faisselle with Chives Recipe

Faisselle de Chèvre à la Ciboulette

[Goat’s Milk Faisselle with Chives]

Originally, a faisselle (feh-sell) is a container pierced with tiny holes, in which fresh cheese is placed so the whey will drain out. But then metonymy came into play (or perhaps came in to play) and the word now also designates an unsalted soft curd cheese sold in such a container, itself nested in a larger, bucket-shaped tub. This clever contraption allows the whey to flow freely around the cheese, keeping it fresh and moist. And when you want to use the cheese, you simply lift the inner rack from the tub, and decide how much of the liquids you want to keep, depending on the consistency you’re looking for.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, good faisselle is hard to come by and the ideal balance of flavor and texture is a difficult one to strike. Products labeled as “faisselle” have become increasingly common in the dairy aisle of French grocery stores, but most are bland and overpriced, so I don’t buy them anymore.

To my great pleasure, however, I have recently discovered that the small goat cheese stand I frequent at the Batignolles farmers’ market — the stand that appears every other week and has a photo album on the counter, presenting all the goats by name — sells an artisanal goat’s milk faisselle. I bought a tub once (2.70€ for 500g) and it turned out to be very close to what I’m looking: soft and silky curds (my only complaint is that they could be a bit more firm), a lightly acidulated sourness, and fresh, clean flavors with hints of barn and hay that reveal themselves when you breathe out through your nose.

So, what does one do with faisselle? Because it is unsalted, it can be used in any number of ways: you can serve it for dessert as you would fromage blanc or yogurt (with sugar, honey, fresh fruit, compote, jam, or a combination of the above), you can drain it and substitute it for cream in sweet or savory tarts (especially zucchini tarts, but I may be biased), and you can season it with herbs and spices to make spreads and dips.

Although faisselle is a good carrier for bolder flavors, I prefer to let its personality shine in the simplest of preparations — the one below is a nod to the Schnittlauchkäse I liked to buy when I visited my sister in Frankfurt and we went to the Kleinmarkthalle (an indoor market) on Saturday mornings.


As a side note, I was briefly interviewed on Julie Andrieu’s radio show on Europe 1 last Sunday: the show is called Droit dans le buffet and it is on every Sunday morning from 11am till noon. You can listen to last Sunday’s edition online: select the date of September 17th and click on “Ecoutez l’émission > Play” (my interview starts about fifteen minutes into the show). [The show isn’t on anymore, and you can’t listen to the archives.]

Faisselle de Chèvre à la Ciboulette

– 250 grams (1 cup) goat’s milk faisselle (soft curd goat cheese)
Fleur de sel or kosher salt
– Freshly ground pepper
– 1 clove garlic (I use pink garlic)
– A small bunch of fresh chives

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, and let the faisselle drain for an hour. Reserve the whey for another use (drink it if you like the lightly sour flavor, or substitute it for water in recipes for bread, brioches, or crêpes) and transfer the drained faisselle into a small mixing-bowl.

Season with salt and pepper, crush the garlic through a garlic press (or peel and mince it super finely) and stir it into the cheese. Snip the chives with scissors to get about 3 tablespoons and fold them in. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, garlic, or chives, as needed. Cover and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Serve as an appetizer or for brunch, with toasted slices of crusty bread.

  • Nice, I love chives and faiselle, will make sure to find that particular goat’s milk one. I listened to your interview on Europe 1. Congrats! Your voice works well on the radio. It was funny how you kept saying chocolatetcourgette so that french speakers could find your website more easily whereas julie andrieu kept saying chocolateandzucchini because she thought it was cooler in english!

  • La faisselle de chèvre est délicieuse… avec des tomates confites c’est aussi un régal!

  • Estelle

    I’ve just listened the show. Congratulations!!! Is the second book for the French market or still the American one???

  • The idea of a photo book with each of the goats photos and names makes me smile, and think: I wonder if each goat had a cheese made using only their own milk if the cheese would have its own instict taste, let’s say as indiviual as each brand,(or herd)cheese? You could then ask for your cheese by the goat’s name ;)!! Just a thought.

  • Looks beautiful…I know my wife and I would have that eaten in a night!

  • Looks good! Yum!

  • sam


    I can’t believe you can play with words IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE! since i love word play and puns i find it amusing.

    Would draining the faiselle in cheesecloth them for a while help to firm them up at all?

  • Thanks for sharing the interview url. I wish they would have kept you on longer. I caught the tail end of the conversation with the male guest, and it got me thinking about the foundation of soups and other such dishes. The host was right, it seems like we often tend to fall back on boullion cubes instead of using real aromatics. I’d love to see a chocolate and zucchini blog about real boullion.

    I have such fond memories of French markets (in my case, Caen, Bayeux, and Honfleur), and it was always such a treat when the merchants brought photo albums of their production.

  • For some reason we can’t listen here; there’s an HTTP 500 error when we try in Firefox. In IE, although we can listen to Europe 1 live, Julie Andrieu’s show archives don’t work… :(

    I’ll try again later.

  • Your faiselle sounds lovely. Wonderful that you found a producer who turns out a high quality product. Watered down, mass-produced versions of otherwise delicious foods make me a bit sad. Also, congrats on the radio show!

  • Andrea

    Clotilde, I may be ignorant but quelle est la différence entre la faisselle et le fromage utilisé pour une cervelle de canut?

  • Sam – I will try that, perhaps it will indeed give more body to the curds.

    Andrea – I believe the fresh cheese that is used for cervelle de canut is essentially the same thing, except it’s made with cow’s milk and beaten to make it smooth, not curdled. (At least the cervelles de canut I’ve been served didn’t have a curdled consistency.)

  • Congratulations for your interview with Julie Andrieu. It was nice to hear and learn more about you ;)
    Bien à toi

  • Faiselle has been the closest thing I could find to cottage cheese in France, though faiselle is a bit more acidic and smooth. Can you think of any other substitutes or similar products? Am I just overlooking the French equivalent? (It took me about 1 yr to discover St-Moret, which is like super creamy Philadelphia cream cheese.)

  • Only in France… You are so lucky to live in a place where you have a local goat cheese stand. Here in Canadian suburbia, I’m not sure anyone even heard of goat cheese…

  • Potiron

    Bonjour!!!! I listened to your radio interview live last sunday, and got curious. Your site is great!!!

    Being a fan of Mexican Mole, I have just tried your now famous pasta by absorbsion with zucchini and cocoa. I used macaroni, no zucchini (didn’t have any) and cocoa powder (no éclats de fèves here either).

    It’s delicious!!! I’m debating whether to make myself another batch right away!!! But no, I’ll be a good girl and wait for another day!!!!

    Thanks again!!!

    Potiron in Chartres
    Well the result is heavenly.

  • On the sweet side of things, I use armagnac and a little miel d’acacia, liquid gold, to turn fresh goat’s cheese into an instant dessert. Served with toasted prune and walnut bread, it’s another good wait to eat goat.

  • I think the Technorati ranks are quite skewed with regards to blogs the recently moved to science blogs. And from my own experience with Technorati, “recently” in their terms can be weeks… They’re not always up to date, and have a very hard time handling moved sites or merged domains (two urls both leading to the same site). I tried that once and suddenly I had 0 incoming links, said the mighty Technorati website. Then I had to wait about a month for support, so you can see why I don’t believe in Technorati’s numbers very much.

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