chevre

Chèvre from Beaujolais

Beaujolais
Galette du Beaujolais – chèvre from Beaujolais

For my part, I think it comes a lot of good from Beaujolais. Most famous are probably the wines and I definitely have a taste for them, even if I stay away from Beaujolais Nouveau. The hysterical times are over. But it was fun. Recently, however, I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with chèvre from Beaujolais. So if most beaujolais wines, but not all of them, are light and fruity, then in return they are chèvres from the region that has come my way, not at all. On the contrary. Quite striking. Even though the first cheese I got was so rammed that all the hair on me stood straight out, and I have tasted a little of each, it went in return to the affineur, and a new supply was sent. Milder and in good condition, but with a clear and distinct message that there is character.

Galette du Beaujolais

It was called Galette du Beaujolais, shaped like a flat donut. With slight mold growth, otherwise a little Geotrichum that will rule the ground. It stagnates mold growth and forms such a fine rough surface. Pretty big for chèvre to be. From the southwest in Beaujolais, right on the border of the Loire. Now it should be said that the Loire as an administrative area is much larger than what most of us think of with the Loire Valley. This cheese appears to be a heavyweight in a positive sense. It has fullness and power, is in good balance and gives a marked, but good mouthful of chèvre. Pretty firm in consistency, but just to make it clear, it’s a creamy goat cheese.

St Gamay

Do not know who came first, the grape or the cheese, does not matter, but suspects that it was the grape. However, the cheese appears to be sacred, since it has been named St. Gamay. From a small area called Claveisolles, and it is not a metropolis, on the contrary with its around 650 inhabitants. If the first described cheese is large and strong, this is a fairly small power plug with its modest 25 grams. What it does not have in size, it makes up for in radiance, so to speak. Small minipuck this here. Some mold, some milk fungus, some hair and rashes of blue mold. This is what makes one on the last course, (about chèvre) not dare to eat it. Cheese is milk, salt, mushrooms and bacteria. If you think it’s scary, then there are other things to be interested in. But of course, sometimes both the fungus and the bacteria, perhaps mostly the fungus, become visible. It is in the spinal cord of us that it is not good. Then I wonder why so many people like blue cheese. That said, it’s a blue cheese from the area called Persille du Beaujolais. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk so it does not fit in here.

Beaujolais
St. Gamay – to understand that someone becomes skeptical.


They should now have the French, they are not easily intimidated. And if you want to learn a little about the mood of the people of Beaujolais, then you must read an old satirical novel called A House of Wrath by Gabriel Chevallier.

To drink to

Drink locally. Although some people think that ripened chèvre can be enjoyed with a fruity red wine, I prefer the white one. Maybe Brown Beaujolais Chardonnay Classic 2020, could be something? I must admit that I have not tasted it so the recommendation is made on the basis of the description.

Banon

So you think you’ve been to Provence? Probably not. Most travelers to this region have only been to the Var or Alpes-Maritimes regions. The latter is where Nice, Cannes and St. Tropez are, to name a few hotspots. But Banon is in Provence. Provence is the back country to Var and the coast; Côte d’Azur. Up in the beautiful hills and mountainious landscape that you find a couple of hours’ drive inland from the coast.

Provence

Here we’re back to small farms, picturesque villages with steep narrow streets, bakery, butcher, and a local market for everything vegetables, cheese and other local stuff. Café where people meet for a glass of pastis and a game of boule in the shades of the old, huge trees. Far from the busy atmosphere along the coast.

From this area hails the Chèvre named Banon. Comes in both an industrial and farmstead variety and I find it natural to choose the latter. When I say hail, it is because the cheese can be traced back to Roman times which is quite a while.

Look for the special wrapping

Characteristically clothed in chestnut leaves and wrapped up with a wisp of natural raffia. Not of much practical use today, but more to make the cheese stand out from the crowd, I would believe.

Banon from Vanessa and François Masto in Simiane-la-Rotonde.
Banon from Vanessa and François Masto in Simiane-la-Rotonde.

Farmstead Banon

The Banon from Vanessa and François Masto in Simiane-la-Rotonde is of course made from raw milk as all Banon has to be, according to the AOP rules. This particular farm is also certified organic, and so is the cheese. It is not very strong in taste, but there are milder Chèvres. It might get somewhat opulent if it’s stored for a while, so I would say it is best enjoyed fresh.

It has a washed rind, using local Marc and is stored for a couple of weeks to mature. Texture is creamy, color of the paste is white. Woody and nutty taste with a gentle sign of goat in the background.

To drink

Local wine; a rosé from Provence or even a crisp white. If you want something sweeter you could try a Jurançon.

PS!

Banon is also the cheese used for the local oddity; Fromage Fort du Mont Ventoux. Not for the faint hearted, though.

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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