December 5, 2007

La Fête du Fromage

Mothais sur Feuille

A great find this week at les Halles! The round cheese below, wrapped in a chestnut leaf, had almost disappeared until some small producers saved it from oblivion. It is called Mothais à la Feuille and with it we tasted some Fougerus and a nice slice of Abondance.

Mothais à la Feuille is a fermier, raw goat's milk cheese that is produced in the Deux-Sèvres region of western France. The woman at the Fromagerie told me that this cheese was almost "lost'' until some small producers began making it again. Losing this cheese would have been a very sad thing, because it was wonderful!
It had a creamy, light and airy texture with a delicate, mildly salty flavor. The chestnut leaf helps keep the cheese moist as well as adding a mild aroma. Luckily I bought it just at the end of its season. There will be no more Mothais until next May.
A dry white wine from Bordeaux would be a nice accompaniment.
(also called Mothais sur Feuille)

The Fougerus, also called Fougeru, is an artisanal, unpasteurized cow's milk cheese from the Île-de-France. It is a member of the Brie family of cheeses, originally produced solely for the family's consumption, but now produced commercially. The fern leaf is used both for decoration and to lightly infuse the rind with flavor. Fougerus' texture is like that of Brie, supple, soft and smooth. It has a strong flavor with hints of mushroom, and slightly salty, earthy and woodsy undertones. All and all, delicious!
Pour yourself a glass of Côtes du Jura or Côtes du Rhône to have with this cheese.

High in the mountains of the Haut-Savoie, three types of cattle graze on the lush, green grasses; the Montbéliard, the Tarine and the Abondance. The rich, raw milk from these cows is used to make the celebrated AOC cheese, Abondance. We loved its smooth, velvety texture and the nutty, grassy and divine flavor. Another great cheese!
An interesting bit of trivia - in the 14th century, the monks of l'Abbaye de Saint d'Abondance were the official suppliers of Savoyard cheeses for the Pope in Avignon.
Some white wine from the Savoie pairs perfectly with Abondance.

This week's Fête was wonderful indeed!

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wcs said...

All of these sound and look great! What an inspiration.

Do you think the Fougerus has a fern on it because fougère is the word for fern, or vice versa, or something??

Jennifer said...

Yes, I believe that is the origin of its name. Have you ever tried it?

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Can't tell you how much I missed your sites while I was on break last month. The idea of a wedge of the first with a dry white Bordeaux has my mouth watering and it's not even 10am yet! Yikes!

Jennifer said...

Welcome back. I missed you while your knives were being sharpened. All is well, I hope?

It was a very good week in cheese here at Chez Loulou.

wcs said...

No, never have.

La Belette Rouge said...

Is it a bad sign that it is only 8a.m. and I am craving Fougerus and some Côtes du Rhône wine? ;-)

I had never heard about keeping cheeses on certain leaves to add flavor. Fascinating!

Jennifer said...

la belette rouge,
no, not bizarre that you're craving cheese and wine at 8 a.m.! Go ahead and have some cheese, but I'd save the wine for a bit later.

Anonymous said...

Hi loulou,

I'm new to your site. Any tips on good cheese festivals or cheese related events in France in June or July of '08? I planning a trip to France to celebrate my wife earning tenure (fingers-crossed...) and our sons first birthday.



Jennifer said...

I've spent the last hour looking for you and it seems that most cheese festivals are either in the spring or autumn. Probably due to the heat and what is does to cheese.
In Rocamadour, in the southwest, there is a Marché des produits régionaux et artisans which should have lots of cheese.
Their main cheese festival is in May.
Their site is

I would search on google for specific cheeses if I were you. I already looked at the Fete du Brie, which is in November. There isn't one for Roquefort but you could always go and visit their caves.

Good luck and I hope you have a great trip!

Unknown said...

Hello Loulou,

Could you please help me find a good way to aprentice in the art of goat cheese making. I am from brazil and have an opportunity to maybe start a organic "fromagerie" in a very privileged area of Brazil, but first i would love to get more educated.
Thank you,

Jennifer said...

Do you want to apprentice in France? the US? Where exactly are you thinking?

Unknown said...

Good morning Loulou,

Thanks for getting back to me.
I was thinking hands on in France would be ideal. Maybe in the Poitiers area? I cheched about courses in the US and at the VermontInstitute for Artisan Cheese,the cost is very high.At the same time when you learn before practicing you do not have any experience to be able to question what really happens in the field. I do speak French as well so it helps.
Have a great day!!

Vermoint Institute for Artisan Cheese

Jennifer said...

Wish I could be of more help but I don't know of any cheesemakers in that area who need apprentices.

Not exactly sure how to go about finding one. What kind of research have you already done?

Unknown said...

So far, I was able to contact Association du tourisme on the poitiers area. They gave me a list of the producers from the "Route du chabichou".
I know this is the"fromage de chevre area" in France, but I don't know how to go in order to find out about possible aprenticeship.

Jennifer said...

Maybe you could find a co-op place like this one to do an internship?