Cheese & You

A Goat and a Ewe

I called on one of my favorite cheese mongers this last Saturday. A sunny day, by the way. It’s been rather cold and wet lately so the warming sun was very welcome. That’s where the theme for this blog post turned up; a goat and a ewe.

Lou Rocaillou

It so happened they had announced a soft ewe’s milk cheese called Lou Rocaillou that was new to me. Most of the ewe milk cheeses are either semi firm or even on the firm side, so a soft one was especially tempting. Always eager to try out new cheeses stuff of course, I called on them to shop my piece.
From a village called Hures-la-Parade in the Department of Lozère; that’s the Midi-Pyrenées.

Lou Rocaillou, raw ewe milk cheese.
Lou Rocaillou, raw ewe milk cheese.

Le Pisé du Lot

As I was there, scanning the cheese counter, I spotted a goat milk cheese from the south west of France, Lachapelle Auzac in the department of Lot right to the east of Bordeaux. New to me this one as well. Chèvre. There is a multitude of different Chèvres in France, so you’re lucky if you know them all. I certainly do not. Yet, at least. Not that it is a goal, even though I am vey fond of this style. This Chèvre is called Le Pisé du Lot. Disc formed and from raw milk.

Le Pisé du Lot - Chèvre from just east of Bordeaux.
Le Pisé du Lot – Chèvre from just east of Bordeaux.

Soft, but mature

Both of them are matured for two weeks, giving them a little more strength than the very fresh ones. The ewe milk cheese being milder than the Chèvre, as always. I think especially the Chèvre has had a few weeks shelf life. transport and so on because it gave a burning impression on both sides of the tongue. Typical for rathe mature Chèvre. As long as it’s not too intense it is okay.

Two rather rare and fine soft cheeses that I am glad I came across. A goat and a ewe.

To drink

Not necessarily the same wine with these two. For Le Pisé du Lot I would recommend a dry white Bordeaux, from Entre-deux-Mers. If you want to step up the quality and the price; look for an AOC Pessac-Léognan. The Lou Rocaillou comes from an area further south east and I suggest you choose a local wine. From the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Dry this one as well. For both of them, try to avoid too much oak as most wines from these regions have been kept a while in barrels. At least check the oak is well integrated.

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The Art of Brie – the Art of Cheese

Rightfully Brie is often called the King of Cheese and the Cheese of Kings. This expression stems from the post Napoleon war peace conference in Vienna, where the French Secretary of State, Talleyrand, brought in some Brie de Meaux. It seems to have eased the negotiation atmosphere because it was unanimously declared the world’s best cheese. Under the circumstances it’s right to use the word declare. Moreover, seems like France came out of the negotiations more favourably than deserved. It should be said, though, the cheese was not the sole reason for that.

A lot of Brie

There is a lot of so called Brie around. Both French and foreign. Well, there is the real stuff and there are more or less successful copies. Then there is Brie style which of course is fair enough. Comtesse de Vichy is a high quality example og this style worth trying if you can get hold of it.

Designated area

Only cheese from the designated area is real Brie. This area called Île-de-France with the towns of Meaux and Melun. Therefore, we have Brie de Meaux and we have Brie de Melun. They are the only Bries that have Protected Designation of Origin. But there are other excellent cheeses from the area; local, from raw milk, excellent quality, but not protected and famous that is also counted as real ones. Best savored on location.

Cheese with a history

Old stuff this. From the end of the medieval period Brie was one of the most appreciated cheeses in all Europe. Hedonism is not what I associate with the medieval age, but so it be. And the rather rapid rise in popularity probably originates from the close proximity to Paris. There was a market for the cheese being it commoners or royals. Paris was, and still is, a place where people from all over Europe met; and there you go. The rest i history.

Facts

Real Brie is a French soft bloomy rind cheese from the Paris region made from raw cow’s milk. Matured from four to seven/eight weeks, sometimes even longer and Brie Noir up to a year. Widely copied.

Never tried this cheese? Hurry off to your nearest purveyor of fine cheese.

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