The Centre region of France is widely renowned for being a great producer of dairy products and fruits. One of the gems of the Centre food and gastronomy is the delicate goat cheese: both the Sainte Maure de Touraine and the Crottin de Chavignol have made the pride of the Centre farmers - and has indulged every French cheese lover!
The Centre region of France, like its neighbouring regions which are real cradles of French dairy products, boasts a wide range of tasty cheeses. Essentially made from goat's milk, Centre cheese includes the Pouligny Saint Pierre, the Selles-sur-cher, the Valencay and, of course, the Sainte Maure and the Crottin de Chavignol.
Sainte Maure de Touraine The Sainte Maure de Touraine cheese - commonly called "Sainte Maure" - originates from the former Touraine province. This soft French cheese has a distinctive complex flavour, but it mainly differs from the fresh chèvre cheeses in being hard and less spreadable (as it ages for a longer time).
This delicate log-shaped cheese made from the goat's milk of the Centre region is characterized by its thin, smooth rind coated by blue-grey moulding. Such mould is completely natural.
The Sainte Maure de Touraine's production has been indeed highly controlled since 1990 (when it received the French AOC Label) in order to ensure the quality and authenticity of the Centre produce.
Crottin de Chavignol In opposition to its Sainte Maure cousin, the Crottin de Chavignol is perfect for spreading on a crunchy slice of French bread!
This small cylinder-shaped cheese has indeed a creamy, soft interior, but its flavour actually depends on its maturing: an 8-day matured cheese has a sharp, nutty taste whilst a 4-month aged cheese is much richer (cheese connoisseur may prefer the second option!).
Being a classic of every honourable cheeseboard all over the world, this French goat cheese has made the pride of the Loire Valley and Centre region dairymen. The flavourful Crottin de Chavignol was indeed produced first in the village of Chavignol, near Sancerre, in the 16th century. Since then, the regional producers have been using authentic methods, using exclusively whole goat's milk, salting regularly the cheese and leaving it maturing for about 10 days.
By the way, the Crottin de Chavignol production has been regulated by the rules of the French AOC Label since 1976.
Top Tip! Sainte Maure's nutty aromas are fully enjoyed when the cheese is accompanied with a full-bodied Chinon red wine or a dry white from Vouvray.
As far as the Crottin de Chavignol is concerned, the Sauvignon wine or the Sancerre white wine from the Loire region are perfect matches.