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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Corb or Corb Noir– Brown Meagre, the fish. Brown Meager in French Cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Brown Meagre

Corb or Corb Noir– Brown Meagre or Corb is a tasty, ivory-fleshed fish with a firm but fleshy texture; it has a mild taste and mostly on the menus when prepared with herbs or served with a sauce. When this fish is on your menu, some may have been caught in La Manche, the English Channel, but most will have come from the Mediterranean or from fish farms.  Whatever their origins they are not a large fish with most under 40 cm (16“) in length and rarely weighing more than 1 kilo (2.2lbs).  Smaller fish may be grilled or fried and on the menu served whole. 
   Fillets of brown meagre
in an orange, capers and black olives fumet with
wilted spinach and olive oil and crushed potatoes

When reading an English language menu in France, the Brown Meagre (sciaena umbra) can be confused with the Maigre, the Meagre, Croaker or Salmon Bass (argyrosomus regius) which a much larger fish, though both are members of the croaker, drum fish family.  Confusion, where fish names are concerned, are not limited to English and French with some languages having over fifteen or twenty different names for the same fish. The different names come from local dialects and different provinces.

Brown Meagre on French Menus:

Corb en Papillote au Fenouil   – A whole, small, brown meagre cooked in cooking parchment or aluminum foil with fennel. Dishes prepared en papillote will keep all the flavors inside; it will be opened in front of the diner so that he or she can enjoy the aroma.
Pan fried brown meagre
Roasted red pepper puree and sauce veirge.
Corb Grillé au Fenouil, Sauce Vierge –  A grilled Brown Meagre prepared with fennel and served with a Sauce Vierge.  Vierge in French is a virgin in English, and as its name suggests, Sauce Vierge includes virgin olive oil. With the olive oil will be fresh tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, basil, red wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Sauce Vierge is not cooked; heat destroys the distinctive taste that is the particular delight of virgin olive oils, it will be prepared slightly warm and then poured on the fish just before it is served.
On Sale - Mediterranean Brown Meagre

Corb Noir au Beurre Noisette, Risotto au Basilic et Poêlée de Tomate Cerise –  Brown meagre fried in a beurre noisette, and accompanied by a basil flavored risotto and cherry tomatoes.  A beurre noisette, is butter is melted until its color resembles the color of hazelnuts and has a slightly nutty flavor.
Corb Sauvage Grillé Parfumées au Citron et à la Coriander – Wild Brown Meagre flavored and scented with lemon and served on a bed of coriander.  Coriander, (also called cilantro) is a lemon-lime scented, light-green herb that looks somewhat like flat parsley. The French word sauvage's English language scion is savage, and the meaning remains much the same. The French connection to English kitchen began with William the Conqueror in 1066.
Monaco 2016 stamp of Brown Meagre
France is far more open to the sea’s incredible variety of fish and seafood than the UK. When visiting France enjoy a visit to a supermarket or fishmonger’s and demand the same choice when you return home. Brown Meagre, Corb is a fish that everyone can appreciate and a change from the five fish that take up 90% of UK fish counters. The Brown Meagre doesn’t swim as far as North America so only the visitors from that continent can try it.
Don’t connect Sang de Corb which may be on the wine list with the fish, there’s no fish in the wine.  Sang de Corb is a dry, Spanish, red organic wine from the Terra Alta area of Catalonia, Spain. 
Stamp from the Cape Verde Islands
showing the Brown Meagre.
Corb, the Brown Meagre in the languages of France’s neighbors:

(Catalan - corball de roca), (Dutch -  zwarte ombervis), (German - seerabe), (Italian - corvina), (Spanish –corvina),  (Latin - sciaena umbra)

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Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?
Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
Bryan G. Newman

Behind The French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2019.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Chabichou du Poitou AOP - The Exceptional Goat’s Cheese From the Old French Region of Poitou-Charentes

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
A young Chabichou du Poitou AOC/AOP
Chabichou du Poitou is a 45% fat (23% new calculation) firm, creamy, very white, goat’s milk cheese. It is made with unpasteurized milk in the old region of Poitou-Charentes that comprises the departments of Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, and Vienne. The natural rind is white in the youngest cheeses and then turns to a light blue and grey as the cheese matures. Over 600 farms provide the milk for the cheese with six farm dairies, two co-operative dairies and two commercial dairies making the cheese.

Chabichou du Poitou AOP

The home of the Chabichou Poitou-Charentes

From the French Revolution onwards Poitou-Charentes was a French administrative region (somewhat like a State in the USA or a County in the UK).  Then on 1-1-2016 in a move aimed to reduce costs and bureaucracy France reduced the number of mainland administrative regions from twenty-two to thirteen and Poitou-Charentes was included in the new super region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Poitou-Charentes, nevertheless,  remains as part of the quality label for many products and produce.

The Poitou-Charentes Region with the Atlantic Coast to the west.

Choosing a Chabichou du Poitou cheese by age.

The cheese comes in the shape of a truncated cylinder called a "bonde," approximately 6 cm in diameter at the bottom and 6cm high, and weighing 150 grams (5 ounces). The youngest cheeses sold are smooth and creamy with a natural crinkly rind with small gray patches and will have been aged for at least ten days.  From then on until the cheese is 20 days old it will primarily be seen in salads or cooked products with a taste that is sweet and mildly salty.  Then as the cheese matures at four weeks it is called demi afinei (or demi-sec which means half-dry) and will be on the cheese plate or trolley, it is beginning to become crumbly and has a savory and slightly spicy taste and is best accompanied by a dry white wine. At six weeks the cheese is sharper and referred to as afinei (or sec meaning dry) and that's when the cheese’s aficionados may choose a red wine. At eight weeks the cheese is at its strongest and called tres affine or (tres sec meaning very dry) and then its only accompaniment will be a very strong red wine or Cognac.
Three ages in Chabichou du Poitou

For a 100% local experience you may accompany a Chabichou du Poitou with one of the three local AOP wines or choose from the two IGP wines:

Charentais IGP red, white and rosé wines. 
Deux-sèvres IGP red, white, and rosé wines.
Haut-Poitou AOP white, and rosé wines
Saumur de la Vienne AOC red, white and rosé wines. 
Thouarsais AOP reds, whites and rosé wines.

Haut-Poitou AOP wines

Chabichou du Poitou on French menus :

Chabichou du Poitou et ses Fruits Secs – A cheese plate of Chabichou du Poitou served with dried fruits.

Chabichou du Poitou Fondu,  Petite Salade au Noix – A meltimg Chabichou du Poitou served with a small walnut salad.

The melon of Haut-Poitou

Le Burger de Patates Douces, Boulgour, Avocat et Chabichou du Poitou de Marie Pascreau  –  A vegetarian burger of sweet potatoes, Bulgur wheat, avocado, and Chabichou du Poitou cheese from the farm of Marie Pascreau.  French Bulgur wheat is cracked whole grains of wheat that have been partially pre-cooked. Cracked means whole grains that have been passed through rollers until they have been reduced to about one-quarter the size.
Le Burger de Sanglier au Chabichou du Poitou et Tomates Confites -  A wild boar meat burger prepared with Chabichou du Poitou and a tomato confit, a tomato jam.
A burger with Chabichou du Poitou

Tartine de Chabichou du Poitou, Radis, Tomates Vertes et Coulis de Basilic An open sandwich with Chabichou du Poitou, radishes and green tomatoes flavored with a basil purée.

Millefeuilles de Betteraves à la Mousse de Chabichou du Poitou, Pignons et Arômes Radis -  Interleafed thin slices of beetroot and a Chabichou du Poitou moose with added pine nuts all little lightly spiced by thin wedges of radish.

Millefeuille means a thousand leaves with the term originally describing thin leaves of pastry dividing a cream or other filling. In the dish above the millefeuille will include thin leaves (slices) of beetroot replacing the pastry. The inclusion of pine nuts, pine seeds, in the dish above confirms that texture is just as important as taste in French cuisine and fresh pine nuts add texture with a soft buttery taste. Toasted or grilled pine nuts add a slight crunch and a nutty flavor.

Tarte Sablée au Parmesan, Mousse de Chabichou du Poitou et Déclinaison de Betteraves –  A shortcrust pastry pie, with Parmesan cheese, a moose of Cabichou du Poitou decorated with beetroot.

The Chabichou cheese road.
The Route du Chabichou et des Fromages de Chèvres, the Chabichou cheese road travels through the four departments of Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, and Vienne. The road passes close to the farms that produce the milk for the Chabichou du Poitou and other farms that are home to many other products and wines; plus all the Cognac produced in France. All the farms on the road may be visited. Apart from the Chabichou du Poitou cheese the same region provides 20% of France’s goat cheeses, (that’s more than all the cheeses of Provence) and so along the road you will encounter some of the 25 plus, branded, mostly IGP rated goat's and sheep’s cheeses, along with many unique but unbranded single farm cheeses and villages that produce the Charentes-Poitou AOC butter, one of France's three AOP butters.   There are close to 30 entrances and exits to the cheese road spread throughout the region and so wherever you are staying there is an entrance close by. 

Other products that may be on restaurant menus.
Apart from farms, the road passes close to restaurants that may be serving Marennes Oléron Oysters, the only French oysters that have a Label Rouge, red label rating, and there also there are also mussels, saltwater fish and seafood. On the menu may be local freshwater fish and some of France’s best caviar that comes from sturgeon farms along the River Charentes.  The most famous aperitif of the area is the Cognac-based Pineau des Charentes AOP and menus will offer other local Label Rouge, red label, IGP products and produce.  Look out for Poitou-Charentes Lamb, Parthenaisie beef, Mille Ventes farm raised rabbits, Saffron d'Angoumois, Melon du Haut-Poitou, and in season France’s famous new potatoes from the island l'Île de Ré.   If you are staying in a self-catering apartment make sure that you seek out and buy for breakfast the regions unique bronze and golden Marans chicken's eggs. There is much more to this region and a must is a visit to the town of Cognac home to the area’s most famous product.
Hine “Talent” Cognac.
Photograph courtesy of Gilles de Beauchêne from Hine Cognac.

Depending on where you join the route you may be near the Maison des Fromages de Chèvre – the House of Goat Cheese which for a small donation to the local economy explains to visitors the history of goat cheese in the region and its production, followed by an opportunity to taste some of the named goat’s cheeses of the area. The House of Goat Cheese is in the small town of Celles-sur-Belle in the department of Deux-Sèvres. Close by is the mostly reconstructed Abbaye Royale Notre-Dame de Celles-sur-Belle. The abbey has a French-language website that is easily understood using the Bing and Google translate apps:

The official website of Chabichou du Poitou in French but easily understood using the Bing and Google translate apps.

Connected Posts



Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
Bryan G. Newman

Behind The French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2019.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman