The Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese: Introduction
The name of the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese comes from the department of Indre, close to where the first collection of farm producers was installed and where a work-shop of production was implanted. The Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese presents a wide range of flavours and is enjoyed by many enthusiastic cheese-tasters. Not very mature, the flavour of the cheese is best enjoyed in a salad diced into small cubes, with walnut oil, or cut into fine slices on hot toast. Lightly pricked with blue, the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre suits a demanding palate with its collection of flavours from nutty to earthy. When matured until blue, it would please the palates of connoisseurs with open and affirmed tastes.
The Pouligny cheese is shaped as a truncated pyramid of 7 to 8cm at the base, 2cm at the summit, it is 9 cm in length and weighs 225 to 250 grams. The maturing takes 3 to 5 weeks in the cool, humid, ventilated cheese cellar. There are two types of ageing that characterise the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre:
- White aged (covering with Geotricum) : acid flavour, lightly salted, aroma of dry fruits, a fruity, flowery odour, fondant texture,
- Blue aged (covering in Penicillium album) : strong caprine flavour, nutty, full, affirmed flavour, firmer texture.
Exterior appearance of the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese: fine, blueish rind
Odour of the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese: light caprine odour
Texture of the Pouligny-Saint-Piere: Supple but firm
Taste of the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese: pronounced earthy flavour.
The terrain where the Pouligny-Saint-Pierre cheese is produced is called the "countryside of many ponds" because of its numerous stretches of water carpeting the woods and heath land. The climate of the region, hotter and dryer than the areas around it, is perfect for the rearing of short haired, brown goats. Moreover, the uniqueness of the plant life, essentially composed of cherry trees, heath and sainfoin (a plant) gives the milk a remarkable perfume.
The goat's milk is made to curdle by adding a small quantity of rennet from the stomach of the kids of the goats, this process lasts for 18 hours. This slow coagulation is so as to achieve regular and firm curds. Then, the curds are moulded with a ladle, which is a more delicate process in order to avoid breaking the curds. It is drained periodically during 24 hours. After being taken out of the mould, the cheese is salted on every surface, and then left to mature for around 3 days, before being placed in the "haloir" (where the cheese is matured), for a minimum of 7 days.