12 July 2008

Goat cheeses at the Montrichard market

Back on June 20, CHM and I drove over to Montrichard for the Friday morning farmers' market there. We wanted to buy some tarragon plants for our garden in Saint-Aignan and for CHM's garden in Paris.

Woman selling plants at the Montrichard market

We could have waited to go the the Saturday market in Saint-Aignan, but Walt had gone there the previous Saturday and hadn't found any tarragon (aka estragon in French). In Montrichard we succeeded, but the plants were kind of pricy at six euros apiece.

Goat cheeses, some coated in wood ash and others not

Set up right next to the plant lady was the woman who runs the ferme-auberge La Lionnière in our village. A "farm-inn" is a working farm which also operates a B&B and a restaurant. Our neighbors the Boulands do all that and also sell their very good goat cheeses in the local markets.

Mme Bouland of La Lionnière waiting on customers
at the market in Montrichard

You have to try the Loire Valley goat cheeses (fromages de chèvre, or just chèvres) to believe them. They are pure and white under a wrinkly and sometimes ash-covered crust. You eat the crust along with the cheese, for the flavor. You can buy goat cheeses that are young, fresh, and spreadable; others that have been aged to a semi-hard (demi-sec) stage; and still others, more pungent, that are completely dry (sec), hard and crumbly.

Money changing hands over logs of goat cheese

Goat cheeses come in many shapes — logs in the Sainte-Maure de Touraine style, flat disks in the Selles-sur-Cher style, truncated pyramids in the Valençay style, and even little heart shapes in the Neufchâtel-en-Bray style. They are good eaten as they are, along with a glass of red, white, or rosé wine, or with a beer, and some good bread.

Disks, pyramids, and lots of other shapes of goat cheeses

They are also good on toast, run under the broiler and slightly melted, served on top of a pile of salad greens, tomatoes, and other salad ingredients. The salade de chèvre chaud is a standard menu item all over France now.

P.S. My new hard disk is all installed and nearly everything is running again. Changing your operating system and all you files over from one disk to another is always an adventure. It took me more than 10 hours to get it all runing, and that included a trip to the local computer store for a cable I needed. I now have that famous terabyte of disk space — 1000 GB — on my computer, to hold all my photos.


  1. Ken, after having some of that wonderful goat cheese at your house, I brought home a Sainte-Maure de Touraine log. Didn't know if I'd get it past customs but thought it was definitely worth a try. Thank you for introducing me to this delectable cheese! I've had several other types of goat cheese but none like that from your area.

    If you're bringing some to your mother in Feb, I'd like to place my order! :)

    Thanks for a great trip to the Montrichard market, I'm sure your herbs are growing like weeds, and congrats on your new super hard drive.


  2. Here I am in the USA - -way behind on blog reading, BTW -- and you're making me miss cheese!

    Hope you're having a nice summer.

  3. BettyAnn, you were lucky airport security didn't mistake your Saint-Maure-de-Touraine log for plastic explosives ;)! Did you know that Camenbert cheese is banned from (transatlantic) flights for that reason? Martine

  4. Wow what a great little market, love french markets..and lovely photos too!!


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