With Christmas approaching I thought it might be wise to highlight some cheeses in the upcoming months, as I love trying new cheese and revisiting old favourites to include them in cheese platters for the season. I absolutely love most cheese from France, and our cheese today is a fresh goat cheese. It’s one of my favourites!
In the heart of Poitou in western France, there lies a small village dating back to the sixth century. It’s name is Mothe Sainte Héray and it lies along the Sèvre River in the south of the province.
Around 1897, a cooperative dairy was formed by the farmers in the region, which they called Le Laiterie Coopérative de la Mothe and during the following century became recognized for producing excellent goat cheese. Recently in 1996, Le Fromagerie Poitou Chèvre, a family business, took over management and chose to continue with only the traditional methods of cheese-making.
Made from pasteurized goat milk, P’tit Sainte Maure is simply a smaller version of its parent, the classic Sainte Maure. With a creamy, buttery yet nutty flavour, P’tit Sainte Maure can either be covered with an ash rind, or conversely a creamy paste rind with a soft white texture.
Ash, you say? Well, ash not only helps preserve the cheese but did you know that it can contain phosphorus, potassium, calcium and boron, minerals that are essential for the body’s health? The trace mineral, boron, is especially important for developing strong bones, wound healing, the reduction of inflammation, protects against heavy-metal toxicity, improves brain function and is preventative and therapeutic in a number of cancers, along with a host of other benefits. Who would have guessed that ash could be so beneficial?
P’tit Sainte Maure goes well with dried apricots or perhaps a beetroot dip and if you’re a wine drinker, you could pair it with Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc.
For information on other cheeses, please check out our post on Parmesan-Reggiano!
Fun Facts: Mothe Sainte Héray is not only known for its cheesemaking. On June 21, 1587, the Duc of Joyeuse massacred 800 Huegenots there and in 1682, King Louis XIV was responsible for destroying a Protestant temple. Knowing these facts, it’s not surprising there are separate cemeteries for Catholics and Protestants in the town.