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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Charolais AOP – One of France’s Tastiest Goat’s Cheeses. Charolais Cheese from Burgundy on French Menus.

Behind the French menu
Bryan G. Newman

Charolais AOP goat’s cheese.
Fromage Charolais AOP -  A 45% fat, creamy,  goat’s milk cheese made with unpasteurized milk.  These are small cheeses, which are aged for a minimum of 16 days.   At 16 -30 days this cheese may be served warm with a salad, but it will not be on the cheese trolley as it is too mild though the cheese has a slightly nutty and mushroom taste. After 30 days the cheese begins to manifest a stronger flavor with a very light bite. Aging may continue for up to three months when the cheese has a sharp bite, and that is the age preferred by many of the cheese’s aficionados. Most Charolais cheeses are made on the farms where the goats are raised, and they may easily be identified by the round green label attached to every cheese or to its wrapping. 
Charolais Cheese.
The Charolais cheeses are shaped like a barrel and weigh from 250 to 300 grams (8.50 – 10 ounces) each. The rind begins with an ivory color, and as the cheese ripens blue and gray spots appear on the rind. This Burgundian cheese comes from the area of Charolles close to the Beaujolais vineyards.

Charolais AOP goat’s cheese on French menus:

Tartelette Sablée au Fromage Chèvre de Charolais, Tomate Confite -A shortcake tart prepared with the Charolais goat’s cheese and a tomato jam.

Charolais goats heading for higher pastures.
Terrine de Fromage Charolais Frais au Basilic et Poivrons Grillées – A pate of fresh, young, Charolaise cheese prepared with basil, the herb, and grilled sweet peppers. 
Ravioles de Fromage Charolais ou les Noisettes de ChevreuRavioli made with Charolais cheese and served with delicate cuts of the meat from roe deer.

Warm Charolais goat’s cheese salad
Croustillant de Saumon et Chèvre Charolais – Crisply cooked Atlantic salmon served with Charolais goat’s cheese.
Fromage de Chèvre Charolais au Miel d'Acacia et aux Fines Herbes, Servi Chaud sur un Lit de Mâche – Charolais goat’s cheese served with acacia tree honey and flavored with the herb group Les Fine Herbes; served hot on a bed of mâche, the salad green called field lettuce in English.
The area where the goats are raised was formerly called Charolais Bourbonnais, and one thousand years ago that was the home of the Bourbon kings of France. Now Charolais Bourbonnais is part of an agricultural and economic area called Le Pays Charolais-Brionnais.  The area covers part of the South West of Burgundy and part of the Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes. In this area, goats will also be on many restaurant menus; the young males will not grow up to provide milk and so they will contribute to the local economy in a different manner  than the females.

Charolais sheep have reached New Zealand.
In addition to the goats that provide the milk for this very special cheese the area is also famous for its beef and lamb. The Charolais Bourbonnais beef cattle, Le Bœuf Charolais du Bourbonnais AOP, is one of the most highly rated cattle breeds raised in France. Also from the same area comes the farm-raised Charolais Bourbonnais red label lambs, l’Agneau Charolais Fermier du Bourbonnais, Label Rouge. These are among the most highly rated lambs in France.  The manner in which all these animals are raised is a condition of their grading. The beef herds and the flocks of sheep and goats all spend at least half the year grazing freely, and no antibiotics or growth hormones may be used or added to their diet. Additionally, the calves, lambs, and kids must be raised by their mothers until they are weaned.

Charolais beef cattle
For information on buying cheese in France and taking it home click here.

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Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016.

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