Cheese University (XXIII): Picodon


Picodon

France’s Ardèche and Drôme regions are so breathtakingly beautiful that they both deserved an entry in one of these guides listing “1000 places to see before you die”. They give home to culinary sensations as well (of course) and today’s cheese is only one of them. Its name used to be a generic term for this kind of disc-shaped goat cheese, there might be a linguistic link to the French word piquer (meaning “biting” or “stinging”) because in the old days the cheese makers turned their products into spicy bites, the rind often washed with booze of any kind. These days are over, today, you talk about a mild, elegant goat cheese when it comes to

Picodon

It’s a small delicacy, weighing 80 grams or just a bit more, measuring 6 to 7 cm and still: great enough to have obtained the AOC label back in 1983 already. Most producers are goat farmers at the same time, the French Maison du lait counts 124 workshops with a combined output of 586 tons, that really is not a lot. So Picodon is a rare cheese, I’m afraid you’ll face problems while trying to find it outside France but who knows, we’re living in globalized times (except the guys who built the official Picodon website; it’s only in French).

I like that little cheese a lot. It’s a balanced piece of artisanal art. Depending on how long it had time to ripen (and that shouldn’t be too long), the Picodon shows a more or less beastly character. Goat cheeses should always have that very special touch. You must be able to feel and sense that there are barns and hutches and real animals involved, otherwise it’s half of the fun (or industrial fare, brrrr!). The Picodon producers understand that very well. So far, I’ve never been disappointed by a piece of that cheese. It always embellishes a meal.

Not many videos available. But this one gives you a tour of a semi-industrial farmhouse producer. I don’t know how you feel about it: I’m always happy when the goats are coming in…

4 comments

  1. I am especially grateful for this episode of your Cheese University, since I have never even heard of picodon! Not to mention tasting it! I’ll remember to ask about it in all the cheese shops and market stalls I know. I love all the goat cheese varieties (except for hard goat cheese), so I am sure I would enjoy this one. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Sissi, thanks for contributing here. Here’s a website that promises shipping quite a large variety of cheese. Don’t know about the quality but maybe it’s ok? They don’t have Picodon but they have Pelardon which is quite similar (coming up as an entry here soon). Best

  2. Thank you for the answer and for the link! It looks like they deliver even to Japan and USA, there shouldn’t be any problems with Switzerland I guess.
    Pelardon is another mystery to me, so I’ll be glad to discover it soon on your blog!

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