Fromage de Brebis des Corbieres
In November I mentioned this cheese in passing. Today I visited the fromagerie and saw how it was made.
If you’re in the Val de Daigne or the Lagrasse area it’s worth a visit. It’s just outside of Villetritouls. Go into Villetritouls and park behind the church. If there is no space go to the front of the church and park in the Mairie parking lot. Walk about 300 m down the lane going away from the village and you’ll come to the fromagerie. (Actually, you can drive and park there but it’s a lovely walk)
They’re open from 16.00 to 18.00 (4 pm to 6 pm) daily except Sunday, and by appointment. The owners are M et Mme Donnet and the phone number is +33 04 68 24 04 95.
First the walk ….
Then the livestock ….
Sheep aren’t nearly as cute right after they’ve been shorn.
but barn kittens are always adorable ..
I went with four friends, one of whom, Anne, works at the fromagerie. Mme Donnet explained the process and the differences in aging methods.
Different temperatures and treatments yield different cheeses. Some are pressed to get rid of the moisture and then put in moulds to shape them. For soft cheeses, think Camembert – the curdled milk is ladled into the moulds and the liquid drains off.
The cheeses are ripened – affine – or matured in a temperature and moisture controlled environment, warmer for soft cheeses, cooler for hard cheeses.
The Donnets make both soft and hard cheese as well as yoghurt. Everything is made with raw milk so it’s vital that that there are no stray bacteria. The milk and the cheeses are tested regularly by the government. The same rules apply to artisan cheese makers like the Donnets as apply to the large commercials dairies.
Tomette des Corbieres is my favourite of the cheeses the Donnets make. It’s a hard cheese, a tomme, aged for about 3 months. During the aging process each cheeses is washed twice a week with salt water and then sprayed with an amber Grenache, a local fortified wine that tastes a bit like sherry – and, with 16% alcohol content, can knock you on your butt!