The Selles-sur-Cher cheese: Introduction
The name of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese comes from that of the department of Loir-et-Cher where commercialisation began very early on. The Selles-sur-Cher, made from whole goat's milk is soft, white coloured; with a natural rind which is covered in ash, from charcoal. The area of production of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese consists naturally of a group of regions south of the Loire River where the climate is mild, these are: Sologne, Touraine, Champagne berrichone, which are part of the departments of the Loir-et-Cher, L'Indre and Cher. Originally this cheese was produced for family consumption. It is in the shape of a flat, beveled disk and weighs 150 grams. It is matured for 3 weeks in a dry cellar
Exterior appearance of the Selles-Sur -Cher cheese: Thin, dark blue rind
Odour of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese: light caprine odour
Texture of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese: firm
Taste of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese: sweet and nutty.
Between the Touraine, Berry and the Sologne, the area rests on a diverse mix of soil with a varied agronomical aptitude. Viticulture, cereal and forage cultures and the rearing of goats all benefit from this varied context.
The soil is not adapted to a monoculture, and in this area, often the ancient tradition of rearing of goats is not the important element, but is one of the only natural ways to develop the fodder area. The hay, of which the sandy terrain and the sandy clay of the Cher Valley mixed with the mild climate, is given particular characteristics and is consumed abundantly by the goats. This is one of the factors which gives the cheese its specific taste.
History of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese
Although many people think that the rearing of goats in this region is a strong ancient tradition, the archives do not provide much evidence as to the origins of the Selles-sur-Cher cheese. At first, the cheese was made exclusively by farms and made on the day that the milk was collected from the small number of goats that the families kept, and was eaten by the families. The Selles-sur-Cher has not been cited or written about in books, but instead its name was spread by word of mouth. It is not until the beginning of the 20th century that word of mouth makes way for the written word, when a farmer, native to the commune of Selles and born in 1887, states that the area had always produced this type of cheese "said of Selles" in cheese strainers made from clay earth and then from tin, and her mother had made the cheese before her and so on. In the 19th century, the "coquetiers" or "pick-ups" who passed by the farms regularly to collect the farm products, had the habit of buying the goat's cheese that they would then sell on in the towns of the region where they were highly appreciated. Certain of these "coquetiers" specialised in buying the cheese fresh from the farms and then maturing it themselves in premises they converted for the purpose, before selling the matured cheeses to the public. The fact that the principle gathering of cheese sellers was in the market town of Selles-sur-Cher explains how the cheese has taken its designation. Also, in the accounting books of the affineurs (cheese refiners) of the region, the word "Selles" is employed to describe these round, lightly truncated cheeses. Today, still the affineurs continue to play an important role in the commercialisation of the Selles-de-Cher cheese. The Selles-de-Cher is one of the first cheeses to obtain an AOC by the decree on the 21st April 1975, which was later modified on the 4th August 1980.