Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loire Valley's Goat Cheese

I have been busy preparing a little cheese information for our next tour in France and thought I would introduce this truncated pyramid shape to my guests.
 Last week I was in Marky's, located in Miami and found one of my favorite goat cheese items for sale! This is produced by Fromagerie Jacquin, located in the Loire region. The family has been producing goat cheese for over sixty five years.  Two generations continue to keep this delicate tasting cheese in production with shipping connections all over the world. Fresh milk is collected thirty miles around the dairy from fifty local farms whose average herd is around one hundred and fifty goats. Remarkable passion and tradition, along with the highest level of quality control, keep the supplies coming to customers today, even in Florida!

The story begins, and there are several, about Napoleon Bonaparte having a dinner party one evening in the countryside with his interior minister, a man named Talleyrand. Napoleon comments on the tall pointed pyramid shape and mentioned to his friend it reminded him of his military campaign in Egypt  and this is what we see today. A more exciting version tells the story that Napoleon took out his sword and chopped off the tops of the cheese right there at dinner in a fit of rage. The sight of these little shapes brought back memories of his humiliation in battle. He was extremely angered at anything remotely connected with Egypt. Afterwards, cheese makers in France were required to create the shape as Napoleon demanded, no pointed tops! I tend to go with the latter~I think he was a sore loser.

Regardless about the origin of this story and how the cheese got the shape, these short pyramids have become a classic symbol, meaning chevre  and a delicious form of goat cheese.