Regional French Cheeses: Languedoc: Cathare

13 11 2009

It is my pleasure to announce the French region where we here at Croque-Camille will be spending November: the Languedoc!  This is another one (like Bourgogne) that I’ve been looking forward to almost all year.  My original plan has written “November – cassoulet.”  Of course I had to do a little digging to figure out which region, exactly, cassoulet exemplifies, so here we are in the Languedoc.

The Languedoc is a fairly large region that comprises a lot of the Southwestern part of France.  It stretches from the Spanish/Catalan border all the way to the Rhône river – the old capital was Toulouse, the new one Montpellier.  The region gets its name from the language used there prior to the French Revolution: Occitan.  Occitan is a romance language whose use was most widespread in the medieval period.  It was distinguished from dialects further North by the way they said “yes.”  In Occitan, they say “oc,” while in old French, they said “oi,” which became the present-day “oui.”  Get it?  Langue d’oc.  (Thank you, class in medieval French literature.  Who knew I’d ever need that tidbit again?)

Now, it just so happens that I correspond regularly in the blogosphere with an amateur cheese expert (oxymoron?  Nah.) who lives in the Languedoc.  I wrote to her for advice on regional cheeses, and among her suggestions was Cathare, a goat’s cheese embellished with an Occitan Cross, the symbol of the region.

Holy ashed cheese, Batman!

Cathare is a raw-milk cheese, aged only a couple of weeks (sorry Americans – it’s unavailable in the US due to silly regulatory laws).  The rind is thin and wrinkly, with ash coating only the top of the slim wheel.  The cheese just inside the completely edible rind is smooth and gooey, while the inside is just a bit firmer and drier.  The cheese definitely has that goaty tang with a hint of chalkiness, but the flavor is full and rich.  The ash contributes no grittiness, as is always my (generally unfounded) fear.  It would be nicely complimented by a dry yet fruity white wine.

It should come as no surprise that I am sending this in to La Fête du Fromage Chez Loulou.  As always, look for the roundup on the 15th – there’s always something new!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




7 responses

14 11 2009

Bonjour Camille,

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14 11 2009

Boy does that sound like my kind of cheese! I’ll have to try it.

15 11 2009

Glad you were able to find this one. You’ll have to keep a lookout for the Tomette des Corbières.
Another great entry for La Fête! Thanks for joining in!

15 11 2009
Nathalie (spacedlaw)

Sounds great and on top of that it looks very pretty. A goat cheese must have a tangy enough smell to tempt a cat, so I do not wonder about yours being interested too.

16 11 2009
hungry dog

Sounds like a great cheese, too bad we can’t get it here in the states. I’ll have to live vicariously through you!

17 11 2009

Hopie – If you have any trouble finding it, let me know.

Loulou – And thank you for your advice! Loved the Cathare.

Nathalie – My cat loves yogurt, too – she is definitely into that tangy scent.

hungry dog – Luckily, you have Cowgirl Creamery, which makes some pretty great cheeses, too.

17 11 2009
Trotter Gear and Duck Confit « Croque-Camille

[…] of preserved meats, I believe I mentioned that it was my goal to make cassoulet for Languedoc month.  I left out the part where I planned to make my own duck confit.  Well, the process has begun.  […]

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