April 22, 2008

One Year of La Fête du Fromage

La Fête du Fromage is officially one year old! I started tasting France's 300+ cheeses last April 18 and so far have worked my way through 81 of them. That's a lot of cheese!

A friend asked me what our monthly cheese budget is and I guessed around €20. They were aghast! However, €5 a week for cheese really isn't that much, especially for the varieties that have to be purchased whole, such as Époisses, Langres, Vacherin du Haut Doubs, Chabichou, Banon... OK this list is getting too long...suffice to say, there are many, many cheeses that you have to purchase whole.

On to cheese number 82:
A wonderful, local chèvre that I picked up at the Olonzac market last week.

Chèvre de Roquecave

Chèvre de Roquecave is an organically produced, unpasteurized goat's cheese from a small farm, la Ferme de Roquecave, near Ferrals les Montagnes in the Montagne Noire.
The couple who own the farm occasionally come down to the local market and when they do I rush to get into line to buy one of their soft and sweet, fresh goat cheeses. We love it drizzled with honey as dessert.

While I was waiting I spotted this little disk, about the size of a Camembert, and asked a few questions. I was told that the goats graze on rich, green mountain grasses under chestnut trees (a very romantic vision, don't you think?) and that this particular chèvre is made in the style of Reblochon.

We shared it with a friend, and we all agreed that it was splendid!
Its aroma was very earthy and its taste was enticing; full of mushroom and sweet honey flavors. I didn't find it "goaty" at all. It was soft and really delicious.
The Minervois red we were drinking paired quite nicely.

One year of cheese. I've been inspired by how much I've learned and how much I've fallen in love with these special French delicacies.

Now on to Year Two of la Fête du Fromage!

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rachel said...

I don't think 5 Euro's a week for cheese is that bad. I probably spend that much as well and I'm not even getting to eat good French cheese! I take whatever they import at my local Whole Foods :)

You must be having a lot of fun trying out all of those cheeses!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I don't that is bad..I spend about £10 a month on cheese...and thats not French Cheese..but I do always see what our local store has in ,and try a little bit..before I buy.

Alyssa said...

I am aghast, but for the opposite reason--20 euros a month is NOTHING for cheese. Cheese is relatively expensive, even the really crappy Wal-Mart cheddar--it would be easy to spend 5 euros a week just on THAT. But instead, you are spending your money on high quality artisanal cheeses--I would gladly spend twice that for what you're eating!
Anyway, since you're kind enough to SHARE your cheese with us, that 20 euros goes a long way!

Anonymous said...

I do love your idea of writing down the cheeses that you have tried. I really need to try to do this because it is certain that I will forget the name.

Loulou said...

Me neither!
Especially when it comes from a small farm and is so unbelievably delicious that you want to eat it every day and with every meal.
Trying all the cheeses has been great fun!

I love supporting the cheesemakers and am happy to hear others do too!

I noticed how expensive cheese - just regular sliced cheese from a Deli - had become when I was in the States in February.
I think we're spoiled here.

I HAVE to write them down! Some I really remember but then there are whole families of "Tomme de..." and I forget which I've tasted.
Also, with the small producers, I want their name so I can tell people about them.
My little Cheese List notebook is starting to fall apart though...

Ken Broadhurst said...

I wish I had a list of all the cheeses I've ever tried. I bet it wouldn't add up to 81, and I've lived in France off and on for nearly 40 years.

Five euros a week is a very reasonable cheese budget, I would say.

I really want to try that chèvre from down your way, and I wish I could send you some chèvres from our local ferme-auberge La Lionnière so you could try them. And yes, they go perfectly with the local Touraine wines, red or white.

Loulou said...

Maybe we should do a cheese exchange?

I think €5 a week is reasonable too.

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! My husband and I think tasting as many French cheeses as possible a most noble goal.

As dedicated cheese lovers, we wish we had kept tasting notes on the cheeses we have enjoyed over the years on our annual trips to France. It's a great idea, we shall make a start this year when we spend another 10 days on the Canal du Midi then the Luberon and Corsica. We hope to visit the Olonzac market again and now that we know about it, and with some luck, taste the Chèvre de Roquecave.

Kind regards,

Loulou said...

I'm sure you'll get the chance to try some wonderful cheese while you're here. Quite a few of the cheeses I've written about are produced locally so you'll have to try them!