Beatrix Mountain Goats Dairy – French Tradition Goats Cheese


By Barry Sergeant – Beatrix Mountain Goats Farmer and Goat Cheese Artisan.
Many of the finest goat’s-milk cheeses originated in France, a country which is well-known for its expertise in many areas related to dining and wining.
In France and other countries where Alpine areas occur, dairy-goats have been important contributors to humankind’s table for many hundreds of years.
The exact origin of most individual cheeses have been lost in the mists of time.
The cheese known as Valençay originated in the province of Berry in central France. At the Mosemane farm in the eastern Free State, where the Beatrix dairy-goats flock lives, the cheese is made from fresh goat’s milk, as in the original. The milk is fermented for 24 hours, and the curds are then drained for about 12 hours. The cheeses are formed and then ripened for about three weeks.
During this process, which takes place in exacting circumstances, the cheeses acquire a natural rind. They develop a marvelous buttery taste, which citric undertones. This is a luxurious cheese. Legend has it that on returning from a campaign in Egypt, Napoleon stopped at the castle in Valençay. The local pyramid-shaped cheese incensed him, and he is said to have chopped the top off with his sword, leaving the shape that survives to this day.
Another well-known French-originated goat’s-milk cheese, Sainte Maure, originated in the French province of Touraine, mainly in the department of Indre-et-Loire. Like a number of French cheeses produced from goat’s milk, Sainte Maure starts off as lactic acid curd. The cheese is carefully ripened – a process known as affinage – and can be ready within weeks. The cheese develops stronger tastes as it ages, and is possibly optimal at about six weeks. The taste is distinct, with a hearty zing.
Sainte Maure is said to be the second most-popular goat’s-milk cheese in France, second only to Crottin de Chavignol, a small, circular cheese.
 

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