Home made cheese

Thank you very much David Asher for your book on cheese making:

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, using traditional, Non Industrial Methods and Raw Ingredients to Make the World’s Best Cheeses.

I bought the French version of your book and I haven’t stopped making all sorts of delicious things with the good and fresh local milk we can buy only a few miles from here.

We live in the South-West of France, in a stunning rural area, a place you’d think finding a good quality raw milk from cows would be a given. Unfortunately these guys a stone throw away from us have the last traditional farm  around, with their cows grazing all year round and producing the sweetest most delicious milk.

Very sadly from next Sunday, the co-op will not be collecting their milk anymore.

At 35cents/litre they could not sustain their traditional way of life. A lot of work and not enough of a return to feed an extended family.

The old lady told me, her son will keep the cows but they will be used to feed their calves which will then be raised for veal or beef.

She also said that they will be keeping one cow’s milk for the family’s own needs and I would always be welcomed there to buy the milk we need ( 6l/week). Lately as I went to the farm with my empty bottles, I was told they were busy and could I help myself with the milk?

The smell of fresh warm milk is like nothing else. It’s like Proust’s madeleine  as it takes me right back to my childhood when squeezing the cow’s udder and aiming at the kitten’s open mouth, I was the luckiest child on the planet!

There were 10 cows on the farm my dad had found on our return from Algeria in the 60’s, and even though we only had them for 6 months before they became contaminated by the last one bought from a dodgy dealer, in my little girl’s memory, it was an eternity.

I will remember for ever with awe the summer’s evening walks, after the milking. In my little shorts and bare footed, with my stick in one hand and the stars above, I was taking my flock to their field for the night. Or was it them taking me?

The spark from their hooves  hitting the stones, and their fresh and warm dung between my toes…. Just like my mum’s creamy spinach dish.  Complete blissful innocence…

Around here, on the South of the Lot region, we have a couple of goat farms making a goat cheese they call the the « Rocamadour » from the “Cabecou” family of cheeses and  taking its name from the famous medieval city in the Dordogne valley. The cheese is rather small, flattened  and round often called “crottin” (= Equine’s poop). When it’s fresh it’s simply creamy, soft  and delicious and as it ages and hardens, the taste gets stronger and we grate it on our food like we do with Parmesan.

I would have loved to make some goat cheese for us, but unfortunately they don’t sell their goat milk, we were told today.

So what about getting a goat…..?

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