See the little squiggle marks on the goat cheese on the left, and the one on rind of the goat cheeses on the right and left? I promise you can if you squint. See how the ash covered Selles sur Cher in the middle doesn't have those same squiggle marks?
What you can't tell because you can't squeeze the cheese on your screen is that the two in the back are much firmer than the one in the front. You might be able to see that the edges of the squiggled rind cheeses are a little sharper, and the edges of the front cheese are much softer. Yes? This is because the two in the back have aged for a much longer period, developing their flavors, bringing out their inner goat, and getting hard and rich (don't you wish that happened to all of us as we aged?). The ashed cheese is a much younger cheese. Much softer and less aggressive, if you will. As such, its skin is much more tender. If it was given a chance to age (which it wasn't! way to tasty!), the insides, or paste, will tighten up and shrink, and the rind will get tougher and thicker, but will have less cheese surface to cover. Are you getting the picture?
When I asked the cheesemonger at the Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills what caused the adorable squiggles on the cheeses, he explained it to me much as I have explained it to you. At which point, drunk on rich cheese samples, I blurted out, "Like stretch marks!" To which he replied, "I'm glad you said it not me!
Anyway, I am always looking for ways to connect with my food, to feel closer to it, to understand it. While I am not about to admit on the internet where words are immortalized for all eternity that I have stretch marks, I appreciate that many people do, and LOVE that as humans, we share the ability for our bodies to shrink and tighten, creating richer, tangier inner lives, and sometimes leaving a little extra skin on the outside to create little squiggles! I just wish thighs in a bathing suit with stretch marks was considered as adorable as a little goat cheese!
Bonus points to anyone who admits to having a cheese dream about a goat cheese in a bikini!