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Goat's Cheeses of the Loire Valley

Aug 17, 2007
The Loire Valley offers goat's cheese lovers a paradise. It is a perfect location for a holiday meandering beside the Loire River, visiting famous historic chateaux, cheese producers and caves for wine tasting and even staying in a boutique chateau hotel if you chose. This region is justly called the Garden of France, and is sprinkled with amazing Renaissance castles open to the public and an abundance of fine wines and cheeses. Chateau du Guerinet near Blois is a perfect base for a cheese lover's Loire Valley holiday.

The Loire Valley is the starting point in the history of goat's-milk cheese in France. In the 8th Century, the Saracens of Arab descent were repelled at Poitiers. When they were expelled from France they left behind their goats and the recipes for making incredible cheese from goats milk.

The quaint villages on either side of the Loire River produce goat's cheeses of different sizes and shapes. There are six AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee) cheeses: Sainte-Maure de Touraine, Selles-sur-Cher, Valencay, Pouligny-Saint-Pierre, Chabichou du Poitou and Crottin de Chavignol. There are currently 42 French cheeses with AOC status. An AOC label indicates quality and guarantees that a product has been made within a specified region of France following established methods of production.

Valencay cheese looks like a small black pyramid. It is purported that the shape of the cheese was originally a perfect pyramid. But when Napoleon returned from a disastrous campaign in Egypt he stopped at Valencay Castle, the cheese reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids and in a furry he chopped of the top of the cheese with his sword. The Valencay goat's cheese has a rind of natural mould, covered with salted powdered charcoal and goes nicely with a glass of Quincy, Reuilly or Sancerre.

Sainte-Maure de Touraine is a blue-grey mould covered long truncated log of goat's cheese. The cheese is mature, balanced, round with salt, sourness and an aroma of walnut. This cheese is produced all year long and is nicely complimented by a glass of Chinon or Vouvray.

Selles-sur-Cher also has a rind of natural mould covered with powdered and salted charcoal. The pate is hard at first, then moist, heavy and clay-like as it blends and melts in the mouth. The taste is slightly sour and salty with a touch of sweetness. A glass of Sancerre or Pouilly Fume accompanies this cheese beautifully.

Pouligny-Saint-Pierre nicknamed the Eiffel Tower or Pyramid because if its shape. The rind is of natural mould. The pate is a soft moist white and crumbly. The taste is at first sour and salty followed by sweetness. This cheese goes wonderfully with a glass of Reuilly or Sancerre.

Chabichou du Poitou has a thin rind of white, yellow or blue mould and a delicate slightly sweet flavour. Pouilly Fume and Sancerre wines go nicely with this cheese.

Crottin de Chavignol known as Chavignol is hard black and knobbly on the surface, and the taste is a balance of sourness, sweetness and a little salt to be enjoyed with a glass of Sancerre de Chavignol.

What better way to enjoy these cheeses than driving through the Loire Valley visiting historic chateaux, maybe a hot-air balloon ride in the morning, gourmet lunch in village bistros, meeting cheese and wine producers sampling their products and returning at night to a friendly inviting boutique chateau hotel. Don't just visit a french chateau - stay in one. You will be amazed. Guests get to truly experience the grandeur of living in a french chateau. Make your next holiday a gourmet chateau holiday in the beautiful Loire Valley. If you love goat's cheese you will not regret it.
About the Author
Corina Clemence owns and operates Chateau du Guerinet, near Blois as an exclusive luxury chateau hotel for up to 15 people. http://www.loirechateau.com Rent a castle in France. Hire a french chateau
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