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Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Pelardon AOP or Pelardon des Cévennes AOP Goat Cheese

Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Pelardon des Cévennes AOP cheese
Photograph courtesy of pdoin.
The  Pelardon AOP or Pelardon des Cévennes AOP
This is a 50% fat, goat’s milk cheese, made with unpasteurized milk.  These are tiny cheeses rarely weighing over 60 grams (2 ounces) each.  When this cheese is sold after 10 or 12 days of aging, it is a very mild cheese, and then it will often be served warm with a salad. More mature cheeses have a bite, and they will be on the cheese trolley. This little cheese is a very special cheese. From France's over 400 registered cheeses less than fifty hold a French AOC/AOP.  When you have tasted this cheese you will justify it being in the top 10%.

Pelardon des Cévennes AOP cheese
Photograph courtesy of may116.
Where the Pelardon des Cévennes AOP cheese is made

The cheese is made in and around  some 200 plus small villages in  the department of Lozère in Languedoc-Roussillon and in the neighboring departments. Many of the villages where this cheese is made have populations of less than 200.

Taking a rest from cheese making.
Photograph courtesy of Sudarshan V 

The cheese’s history.
The cheese has a possible two-thousand-year-old history.  That history begins with writings showing a cheese from the area much in demand in Rome. It is not certain that the local cheese the Roman loved was the same as that sold today; however, today's Roman tourists visiting France will find this cheese in most of the better fromageries, cheese shops all over France.  For pairing this cheese, if you are in the area, consider  trying their local red, rose and white wines. Their Vin de Cévennes IGP.
Visiting the department of Lozere
Lozère is beautiful and a place for the tourist who wants France without hordes of tourists. Lozere has less than 80,000 inhabitants; it is the least inhabited department in France. The department covers over 5,000 square kilometers, (2,000 square miles).

Aligot in Lozere.
Photograph courtesy of  Christian MANGE
Buying the cheese
The cheese is available in all the better fromageries, cheese shops, throughout France.  In the restaurants of Lozere the Pelardons de Cevennes AOP  will be on nearly every cheese plate. Elsewhere in France the cheese may be on the menu or the cheese trolley as it is a cheese with many aficionados among French chefs. For information on buying cheeses in France and taking them home click here:
Pelardons de Cevennes on  French Menus:
Pélardon des Cévennes Grillé sur Lit de Roquette et Sorbet Yaourt au Lait de Brebis  - Pélardon des Cévennes cheese, grilled and served on a bed of rocket salad greens with a sorbet made of sheep’s milk yoghurt.
Ravioles au Pélardon des Cévennes sur un Crémeux de Champignons au Bouillon de Poule – Ravioli filled with Pélardon des Cévennes cheese and served with a creamy mushroom sauce in a light chicken broth.
Salade Verte, Pélardon des Cévennes Chaud sur Pain de Campagne  - A green salad served with hot Pélardon des Cévennes cheese on country bread.
Tatin d'Oignon Doux des Cévennes Confit Gratiné au Pélardon – An onion pie made with the unique AOP sweet onions from the Cévennes prepared as a thick sweet jam, a vegetable confit, topped with the Pélardon des Cévennes cheese and browned under the grill.  The sweet onions used here come from the department of Gard that borders Lozere. The Oignon Doux des Cévennes AOP, are practically hand raised.
Travelling in Lozere.
Farming and tourism are the main occupations in Lozere. In the winter, there is skiing and in the summer kayaking, hiking and fishing. The rivers Lot, Tarn, Truyere, Allier Altier, Gardons, and Cevennes run through the department and have made Lozere an important center for fishing enthusiasts from all over France and beyond. These rivers have many different fish, but the most important are the brown trout.  In French that is the truite fario, truite commune, or truite de rivière.

Brown trout 2,5 kg.(lbs),
Photograph courtesy of   Michael Meiters
Brown trout in the languages of France neighbors:
(Catalan - truita de mar), (Dutch - zeeforel), (German – meerforelle), (Italian  - trota fario), (Spanish - trucha común, trucha marrón, trucha reo).
Learning about Lozere
If want to know more about the department of Lozere's history, visit their small museum:  Le Musée des Vallées Cévenoles, the museum of the Cévenole valleys. The Museum is in the village of Saint Jean du Gard.  Saint Jean-du-Garde is 89 km  (56 miles) from Mende, the prefecture.

For more about the Cevennes look at their English language website:
A special part of the history of Lozere.
The department is internationally recognized for the small town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Through its Protestant Pastor, this whole town worked together and saved thousands of Jews in WWII. Many were smuggled into neutral Switzerland, and many others were hidden throughout the whole war in private homes and the nearby forests. The whole village was recognized as among the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel and in 2004 by the French President Jacques Chirac. The town is 130 km (81 mile) from Mende the Prefecture, the regional capital. The French language website of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon can be well understood using Google or Bing translate:

The church in Chambon-sur-Lignon
Photograph courtesy of sweetpeasue.
Where is Lozere

Lozère is the least populated a department in France.  It is in Languedoc - Roussillon bordering the department of Gard also in Languedoc - Roussillon.   Lozere also borders Ardeche in the Rhone Alps, Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrénées and Cantal and Haute-Loire in the Auvergne.

The Lozere French language website can be easily understood with the Google or Bing translating apps:
Avignon is less than 50 km (31 miles). under one hour by car.
Montpellier is 65 km (41 miles),  one and a quarter hours by car.
The Camargue and the city of Arles are 80 km (50 miles), one hour by car.
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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French menu
Copyright 2010, 2015.
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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