10 May 2009

Local fromages de chèvre

At the Cave des Vignerons des Coteaux Romanais, one of the local products I bought was goat cheese. Or goat cheeses, fromages de chèvre. Goat cheeses are a speciality of the Cher Valley, and they are delicious.

Un chèvre frais

You can buy round goat cheeses, heart-shaped ones, logs (Sainte-Maure style), or pyramids (Valençay style). Around Saint-Aignan, the most common goat cheeses are the rounds, in the style of goat cheeses from the neighboring town of Selles-sur-Cher. The cheeses of Selles have an A.O.C., like the local white and red wines.

Un chèvre demi-sec

At the market over in Noyers-sur-Cher on Sunday mornings, I've heard the older local people ask the vendor for un chèvre bleu un peu moelleux — a medium-dry, soft "blue" goat cheese. They call the goat cheese un bleu because the crust turns a blue-gray color as the cheese ages. The cheese itself is pure white inside.

This is the paper the cheeses came wrapped in.

And you can buy the cheeses in different stages of maturation. The youngest are called frais, or fresh (soft). The ones aged a bit longer are demi-sec, or semi-dry (medium hard). And the cheeses that are fully aged are sec, or dry (hard). The soft, creamy ones are more or less spreadable, and the hard, dry ones can be grated.

This is the fresh goat cheese, which is creamier.

All the goat cheeses made around Saint-Aignan are coated with a mixture of powdered wood ash and salt for the aging process. The ash and salt give them extra flavor. You don't have to cut or scrape it off — it's perfectly edible.

This medium-dry goat cheese is starting to get crumbly.
You can see how white the cheese itself is.

Goat cheeses are good with red or white wine, or with beer. And bread of course. You can melt one on a round of toast and serve it on top of a nice salad. Today we plan to make pizzas with tomato sauce and eggplant, topped with goat cheese. I'm not sure whether to use the fresh goat cheese pictured above, or the semi-dry one. I guess we can make one pizza with each and share.


  1. Interesting to see the difference between the chèvres up there and the ones they make down here.
    They all look delicious!

    Another reason to visit the Loire!

  2. You are tantalizing me.

    Maybe Thursday, but surely Friday, I'll rush to Monoprix to buy a Selles-sur-Cher the thought of which I've been drooling over for the past eight months!

  3. oooooohhhhh.... I love chèvre! So much so that a friend of mine bought me a big selection at Christmas, from a farm in Vermont ( Blue Ledge Farm ). But... it was way too much for me to eat right away... how long does it last in the fridge? I imagine it should have been eaten right away :(( What do you think? The littlest "pepper chèvre" is hard now, but the big wheel is still feeling soft.


  4. How nice to eat "fresh and local".
    I thought of you yesterday while at Whole Foods. I saw a Malbec "Zette" of 2005 for $18. At Costco, artichokes are $1.24 a head (they come in a pack of 4) and asparagus are the equivalent of $1.99 a pound. Of course, those vegetables are always more expensive at regular supermarkets. Thank you for the website for Weber in France. The one I want was on sale at Lowes for $69, $89 at Walmart. There was an interesting article in the food section of the LA Times of May 6 about chicken. Trader Joe's uses the european method of air chilling their chicken. One more question if I may; what kind of coffee to you guys drink? Apparently, french coffee is bitter (it is a question of taste and how you are use to a product of course), but I was wondering how you are rating coffee. Maybe I should bring back American coffee back to France.

  5. Sorry I forgot to write my name of the long comment.

  6. Bonjour Nadège,

    Notre Touraine Côt costs 3.60€ a bottle! And the Chardonnay I buy from the coop in St-Romain is about 1.00€ per bottle!

    I personally couldn't recommend bringing American coffee to France. French coffee is not bitter, IMO. You'd be surprised how little we pay for coffee at the supermarket. But mostly we drink tea. British tea.

    That sounds like a decent price for artichokes, but then California is artichoke country (at least up north, around Monterey and Santa Cruz). We got our latest asparagus for 4.00€/kg, which is about the same price you are paying.

    Judy, all I can say is follow you nose in evaluating the chèvre. If it smells (and looks) good, it probably is. If it is very hard, grate it and melt in on pasta.

    Anonymous, which Monoprix do you go to?

    Loulou, our chèvres are delicious...

  7. I am the anonymous on second position. Just like Nadège I forgot to sign that comment, but didn't notice it until later.

    The Monoprix I am talking about is the one a little further from the Roi du Café.

    Word verification is hotnep. I just had a nap but it wasn't that hot

  8. Merci, CHM. Je ne t'avais pas reconnu. Oui, bien sûr, le Monoprix que nous connaissons bien.

    Il pleut et on nous annonce de la pluie pour toute la semaine. N'oublie pas ton parapluie...


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