The Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine cheese: Introduction
The name of the Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine cheese is that of the main market town of the Indre and Loire department. The Sainte-Maure cheese is in the form of a slightly truncated cylinder. It weighs 300 grams. In the maturing process, the cheese is firstly drained for a week and then put in the ventilated cellar for a month to mature and dry.
Exterior appearance of the Sainte-Mauire-de-Touraine cheese: fine, blue rind
Odour of the Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine cheese: pronounced caprine odour
Texture of the Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine: firm but supple
Taste of the Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine cheese: nutty.
A straw of rye engraved with the name of the producer and an attestation of the AOC is inserted into the middle of this fragile little cheese. For some decades, many dairies, cooperatives and industrial producers of the region have all been producing the Sainte-Maure cheese. However, a farm produced cheese is different in that the spores of Penicillium candidum are inserted in the cheese, the cheese becomes that of the family of cheeses which are soft with a flowery rind. In order to resemble a cheese made on a farm, certain establishments "charbonnet" meaning "to charcoal" in which they coat the surface of the cheeses in powdered charcoal in order to dry the surface, as they exude liquid in the days following their removal from the moulds.
The Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine cheese: AOC since 1990.
History of the Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine.
The history of this cheese is rather obscure, but it seems that the cheese was first made way back during the Arab invasion of France, when the Arabs introduced goats to this region of France. After the defeat at Poitiers, lots of the Moorish soldiers stayed in the country and moved up north in the search for hospitable land.
Based on the old French word "Maure" which means "black", Sainte Maure, the 'black saint' before losing his status as the divinity of the harvest and as a Pict and a Celt, was responsible for the cycles of transformation of life. In the minds of ancient believers, this saint presided over the bacterial fermentation and decomposition of black vegetation which was smoking in the earth. This saint also favoured the wealth of the people, especially in the ripening of the cheese which ensured preservation of the cheese even though the curds of the goat's milk are perishable. Another legend tells that the women Arabs, abandoned after the defeat at Poitiers, taught the inhabitants of the region how to make this cheese. This legend explains the name sainte-maure de Touraine. Proven by archaeological evidence, smallholds of goats were present in Touraine well before the 8th century. Another rural legend says that you must cut the "bûche" (loaf of goat's cheese) by its biggest end, if not, the goat from which the milk for the bûche came from will not produce anymore milk.