Cheese University (V): Rocamadour


Rocamadour

The great variety of goat cheese makes France’s pride. In fact, no other country in the world can boast with a similar palette of highly refined, traditionally anchored, perfectly crafted caprine milk products and, amongst them, one of the finest – and most ancient – is without a doubt the tiny, creamy

Rocamadour

It’s just as large as the palm of a hand, one inch thick, a disc-shaped delicacy weighing around 35 grams, yet this dwarf is a flavourful giant speaking of the beautiful region where it’s born in the French department of Lot. It tells a story of the nanny goats that deliver the milk, of many craftsmen exactly knowing what they’re doing. 38 producers and 3 cooperatives are active nowadays, together they bring around 1000 tons of Rocamadour to the markets. Even Rocamadour’s official website is nicely done.

You’d understand a lot more about this cheese, if you saw the amazing village of Rocamadour itself (I’ve attached a touristy video below), tucked on a mountain like a gothic Hollywood scenery but this one’s real. Medieval stones, abbeys, châteaux, churches, steep lanes and narrow streets make a world heritage ensemble – and all around the goat herds roam the hills, it’s true, I’ve seen it! Rocamadour, the cheese, was first mentioned in official documents in the 15th century, so you can assume that it was produced in the Middle Ages already, a breath-taking fact, like so many when French cheese is discussed.

Rocamadour is made of raw milk, what else?, the curd is lightly salted and then cast in moulds, it ripens for at least six days. Producers say, 10 days of affinage were ideal, during that time the tiny wheels are stocked in cellars at 10°Celsius and they turn, one by one, into little world wonders of their own. Rocamadour is an elegant, charmingly creamy cheese, melting in the mouth, and that’s how it should be, actually. It doesn’t age well, it dries up fast. Don’t trust people who offer you an “aged” Rocamadour…

The people in the region eat their small cheese with walnuts and salads on the side. And they drink their heavy Cahors wines while having it. Although they should know better, I’m not sure whether that’s a good choice, actually. Maybe I’d prefer a fleshy white from the Loire instead. Whatever you drink with it, you’ll mention: Rocamadour is one of these very great cheeses you only find in France, the motherland of cheese.

 

3 comments

  1. Vincent

    Even though I am the son of a former cheese seller/distributor, I learn so much from your articles ! (greetings from one of your passionate Cheese University students…)

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