[Note: The image above is of Crottin de Chevre, a goat cheese by Xavier David, soon to be sold at Fromagination.]
In this seventh edition of The Wandering Cheesemonger, our intrepid blogger, Grace, discusses about the work that went into French goat cheese….
This past week I tasted some palhais, a small goat milk round from Portugal that is salty, creamy, rather mild, and quite ‘sessionable’ as I like to say (a term borrowed from beer fanatics like my brother, used to describe beers that are suitable for long drinking sessions). I finished this small palhais round in about 10 minutes, eating it with my fingers standing at the kitchen counter. This little, white goat milk cheese made me nostalgic for the cheeses that Marisa made at Chevrerie de la Baie, and the evenings we would spend sharing a few rounds of fresh chevre and mozzarella de buffle.
An average day on the farm consisted of me waking up and having a bowl of coffee, a few crepes with nutella (okay, maybe more than a few), and then heading off to the barn to feed the goats and check in on ‘my babies’ (the kids). After making sure everything was copacetic at the barn, we would take an ATV out to the field to feed the buffaloes and check in. There was always something to do out with the buffaloes, in the barn, or in the laboratoire, and we spent most of the day going back and forth (with regular breaks for coffee and a square or two of chocolate, of course). We usually didn’t finish for the day until 7 or 8 at night, but every once in a while we’d get done in time to sit down together before dinner with a glass of wine and few cheeses while the sun set.
Although I learned a lot from Marisa and Fred during the day, one of the best parts of living on the farm was when we got a moment to sit and talk (well, once I could understand French well enough to keep up with the conversation). They would tell me stories about how they had built their business, starting a goat cheese farm in a region in France known for their cows because they wanted to do things their way. They told me about how crazy everyone thought they were when they got the water buffaloes, and about how much work it had been to start a cheese business themselves. There was something so idyllic about sitting around a table outside, snacking on an impeccable cheese that we had made together, and learning about the years and years of work that went in to being able to make that delicious piece of fromage.