Cheesy Christmas 7: Picodon

Cheesy Christmas 7: Picodon

With today’s Cheesy Christmas choice, Picodon, LaBoxFromage treated us to something that we hadn’t had to date… a cheese made from goat’s milk.

Timo was looking forward to tasting his first goat cheese as, generally speaking, that’s his favourite. In this case however, using the word ‘treated’ is being generous… so much so that Timo would’t let it pass his lips…

(If you’re wondering ‘Why the daily cheese posts?’, see this post.)

An Introduction

Some of the words used to describe the flavour and aroma of this little cheese are; ‘full-flavoured’, ‘sour-sweet’, ‘goaty’ and ‘pungent’: ie. marketing speak for ‘strong & smelly’. The smell, when combined with the semi-grey (moldy) rind, is what turned Timo off from the get-go.

Typically, Picodon is marketed in one of three agings:

  • Aged for 12 days: The rinds are almost exclusively white (not unlike Brie) and the taste is lightest.
  • Aged from 12 days to 1 month: The mold on the rind becomes increasingly grey, and the taste gets stronger.
  • Aged longer than 30 days: The rind takes on an almost totally ash-like appearance and the taste is quite pronounced.

Judging from the colour of our rind, I’d saw we were on the young side of the ’12 day – 1 month’ bracket.

Day #7: Picodon

  • Name: Picodon comes from a word in the old local dialect of the Drôme-Ardèche region meaning “little cheese that stings”.
  • Region: Drôme-Ardèche is down toward the Mediterranean, but is still inland and up in the highlands.
  • Milk: Goat’s milk
    Some 26,000 goats, of 5 different breeds (including Saanen goats, fairly common back home), make up the Picodon-producing herd. In the Summer they eat grass & leaves, but in the Fall, their diet is complemented by chestnuts, acorns and wild berries.
  • Our Score: 1/5
    It was just too strong for our taste. I was impressed by the combination of a relatively firm rind and a heart soft enough to drip off the knife, if not eaten quickly. Being impressed by the texture however, wasn’t enough to get past the taste. The descriptor ‘sour & sweet’ is apt… there is a sweetness, but the after taste is definitely sour… very sour.

Fun Facts:

In reading the description of this cheese, something occurred to me that never had before… ‘Why did people begin making cheese in the first place?’

The Picodon literature mentions that as early as the 14th century, people began making this cheese because the goats typically produced milk for only about 10 months of the year. They produced little if anything during the winter. Cheese production was a means of preserving the milk so as to have access to dairy throughout winter.

Makes so much sense!


Cheesy quote of the day

… From Clifton Fadiman, and American writer, editor & New Yorker book reviewer:

“A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be over sophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”


Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #8

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