Tuesday, March 06, 2007


A recent post of mine gave you a view of Amboise, a small town located along the banks of the Loire River. In this region, known as the Garden Of France, you will find an abundance and variety of cheeses. One that I am particularly fond of is Valencay. This is a goat cheese recognized by its shape, similar to that of a small pyramid. The cheese has been smothered in powdered charcoal which is done primarly to encourage the blue mold to appear. It is perfectly safe to eat-I hope-have had my share of it and I'm still running around!

Way back in the 8th century, the Saracens, who were originally of Arab decent and from Spain, settled in France. As they were repelled near Poitiers, ( this is where our friend Mimi's family lineage begins, www.Frenchkitcheninamerica.blogspot.com , they left behind their possessions of goats and formulas for making the cheese. Hence, we have that wonderful cheese available today.

The cheese was originally shaped as a pyramid, however, Napoleon had a disastrous political career in Egypt. Upon his journey back through France, he stopped at the castle of Valencay. The cheese reminded him of the Egyptian pryamids. His sword came out and the top of th e cheese came off..........


Mimi said...

Jann, I was in the middle of your firswt paragraph when I thought, "I must have this cheese!"

OK, now I know it is genetic, this craving for such things.

Thanks for the link! Yes, I must have this cheese!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

All it took was the picture. I knew it was French cheese and the longing began. Then your words only make it a deeper longing. I love French cheese.
So we owe it all to Napoleon! at least the lost point on this one.

Lydia said...

Great story about the history of this cheese! I've never had Valencay, but now will try to find it.

K & S said...

I love cheese! This is such an informative post.

Jann said...

Mimi, it is genetic....I know you will enjoy this cheese!

mykitcheneinhalfcups,I hope you get to taste some of this in your travels!

Lydia-thank you for reading the post today!
k&s-one more to add to your collection of cheeses!

Mimi said...

Well, I can try some in 10 more weeks...it's already on my list.

T.W. Barritt said...

Charchol, huh? I am fascinated by the kinds of things used to dust and flavor cheeses. It sounds wonderful, so earthy and rich!

Christine said...

LOVE this story!! Napoleon, huh? Who knew?
Mr. CC and I have an on-going love affair with French cheeses. Haven't found one yet that we don't like.
Our local Cypress Grove makes an award-winning cheese called Humboldt Fog and they use ash to encourage the mold growth.
Beautiful photo Jann!