Cheese University (XXVII): Pouligny Saint-Pierre


Pouligny Saint-Pierre

In the world of cheese, pyramids normally don’t speak of exotic places but of comfy, cozy ones like the Parc naturel de la Brenne stretching in the middle of nowhere, not far from France’s geographic center that is. I haven’t been there in person, so I can’t tell whether the descriptions are true that this was a “land of a thousand ponds”. What I can say is that the park gives home to the smallest Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée of French Cheese, called

Pouligny Saint-Pierre

It has been called the “Eiffel tower”, a cone or a pyramid – and its size has been adjusted to costumers’ wishes over time. It used to be larger, with a square base of up to 8 cm and it was up to 13 cm high. Nowadays it is only 8 to 9 cm tall and stands on a smaller base. Affinage has shortened, too. When the producers achieved their AOC in February 1972, the standard affinage process took 4 to 5 weeks. Nowadays, they’re quite often down to two weeks (so try to find a vendor who’s working with traditional fermier producers).

 It is an uncooked, unpressed goat cheese made of raw milk. The soft pâte on the inside displays an almost shockingly snow-white colour, the outside is wrinkled like the skin of the very bad guys in Harry Potter. If the affinage is done properly the rind can show some blueish traces and the wrinkles will turn to ebony or even orange. The texture of this cheese is astoundingly fine. After a couple of seconds in your mouth, when the sour-salty pâte melts and the good fat does its miracles, it almost feels like chewing on fresh snow or something, it’s a wonderful, very enriching sensation.

With a yearly production of hardly 300 tons and only 6 farm-house producers left this cheese is a born passenger forNoah’s ark. Given the small community of producers you won’t find many traces of it on the Internet, here’s the site of a producer you might visit on your next trip to beautiful France.

What wine would accompany the Pouligny Saint-Pierre best? Easy question: White, sec, fruity from the region, from the banks of the Loire. Chinon maybe, or Sancerre or Cheverney. Enjoy! And, by the way, there’s different ways to write the name, just in case you wonder. Mostly, you’ll find it as Pouligny-Saint-Pierre, I prefer Pouligny Saint-Pierre following the spelling of La Maison du Lait. They should know, shouldn’t they?

The video shows an unknown lady cutting a piece of very fresh Pouligny that a real cheese lover would have rejected. But anyway, you get a feeling for the size of it.

13 comments

  1. Ullrich, it’s always such a pleasure to come back and read a new fascinating entry in your cheese encyclopedia! I think I have had this cheese once or twice, but it was too dry for my liking (I prefer goat cheese softer and fresher… like not a real cheese amateur 😉 ). I go to this region quite often and sometimes take for granted all the variety of goat cheese I’m offered on a plate. My all time favourite goat cheese is Selles-sur-Cher, but I also like it when it’s still soft (people from my family prefer it drier and harder). One day, on a market in the Loire region I discovered ladies who produce their own goat cheese varieties, cheaper than AOC since they don’t have the right to ask for it (a couple of km too far). Now I buy my a couple of pieces every time I go there (several times a year).
    I am very glad you are back! Looking forward to reading new posts!

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