Smoke and cheese are a natural combination, but the best-known pairings start with firm cheese. That could change with "Up in Smoke." I've never tasted a soft cheese that took to the smokehouse quite as elegantly as this fresh and creamy goat, produced by the artisans at Rivers Edge Chevre in Oregon.
Each little 5-ounce round is gently smoked over hickory and alder, then wrapped in smoked maple leaves spritzed with bourbon. The result is an ethereally sweet cure with a sharpness tempered by the tang of the still-moist goat curds. I first tasted it at Tria near Rittenhouse Square, but it's become increasingly popular on cheese plates in restaurants such as the Ugly American and Valanni in Philadelphia and Teresa's Next Door in Wayne.
Up in Smoke, not yet available in local stores, can be ordered directly for $8 each, plus shipping, from Rivers Edge Chevre, 541-444-1362, www.threeringfarm.com