Unusual French Cheeses for Bastille Day
As you know, here at The Courtyard Dairy like to champion “‘proper’ unpasteurised farmhouse cheese. And whilst 90% of what The Courtyard Dairy sells is British Cheese, we like to have a little nod to the French every now and then (after all, it would have been sacrilege for Andy to study and learn everything from French cheese-mongers then not support them!) It also fits into Andy and Kathy’s ethos – they’d rather support a person farming very traditionally and making amazing cheese everyday by hand, even if he or she is half-way up a mountain in the French Alps. Mind you, if the farmer can be in Yorkshire, like the makers of Dale End Cheddar, that’s even better!
But this is the month to talk about French cheese – and what better time to celebrate French cheese than Bastille Day on Tuesday 14th July. So this July give a little nod to the French – grab a baguette and a crisp glass of Burgundy Pinot Noir and enjoy the delights of a French cheese board. Here is Andy’s choice of some of the more unusual cheeses to look out for:
- Lingot de St Nicolas. Made by Père Gabriel in an Orthodox Monastery, The Monastery of St Nicolas, perched on the top of a hill in Languedoc-Rousillon. Père Gabriel and his seven fellow monks lead a pious life and dedicate a lot of time to farming their 80 goats on the hillside and producing this herby, light, fresh goat’s cheese.
- Salers. France’s answer to Cheddar! If you get your hands on the ancient version, noted by the suffix of du Tradition au Buron, it is quite a special cheese. There are only two producers left, and it is only made in the summer months using the intense rich milk of the Salers breed of cow on the Auvergne mountainside. These are milked by hand in the field and the cheese is still made in wooden vats, which provide a unique and interesting flavour. Read more about this special cheese at http://tinyurl.com/salers-cheese.
- Bleu des Causses. In 1925 the French government banned the use of cows’ milk in making Roquefort (producers were diluting the sheep’s milk by putting more and more cows’ milk in). So Bleu des Causses sprung up as an alternative. Aged in the same plateau in France and made in a similar way to Roquefort but with 100% cows’ milk, Bleu des Causses has similarities to its Roquefort cousin – it’s spicy, creamy and rich with a blue bite. The Courtyard Dairy’s version is in fact aged by Andy’s old boss Hervé Mons; Andy well remembers from his time there many a week trapped in a dark, wet cave turning, rubbing and piercing these cheeses…