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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What can be substituted for goat cheese?

My daughter lives in Italy, in the Puglia region (southeastern coastline). They can not get goat cheese. What could she use to substitute for goat cheese in recipes?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

There would be a number of great choices for your daughter. The key is for her to look for a soft, creamy cheese that is made with a reduced fat milk. Because goat and sheep milk is naturally low in fat, they work well in many recipes.

Ricotta is traditionally made with sheep's milk and is lower in fat as a result. The creamy Ricotta di Pecora is an example. These are not like the ricotta that is sold in the U.S. that is made with cow's milk. They are generally a firmer cheese, similar to the types of goat cheese widely sold here. The lower fat ricotta sold in the United States does make a good substitute as well, as it will melt well and offer a creaminess to sauces like Fettuccine Alfredo. If she has access to a reduced-fat cream cheese, that would work as well.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr Gourmet