St. Maure de Touraine: An Ancient Goat Cheese

November 11, 2010

St. Maure de Touraine is a cheese with bones.  This cheese has been in produced in the Loire Valley of France for over a thousand years.  St. Maure is still made using traditional methods and is one of the region’s “classic” chevre cheeses.  St. Maure is an easy cheese to fall in love with, even if one is not partial to chevre-style cheeses.

St. Maure is a semi-soft goat’s milk cheese.  It has an unusual appearance: St. Maure is produced in small logs about 6″ long and is covered in ash.  A narrow damp straw runs the length of the log through its center.  The straw helps to keep the cheese together and also aids the ripening process.

St.Maure de Touraine St. Maure looks like a charred marshmallow.  It has a cloud white interior, with an ash-gray rind.  The rind is more a thin skin–like a roasted marshmallow’s skin–that is easily separated from the interior’s denser paste.  St. Maure has a creamy layer just beneath the rind.   The central straw is easy to remove and leaves a small piercing.  To the touch, the rind feels delicate and dry; the paste feels like damp clay.

When St. Maure is first unwrapped, it has a strong odor of animals and barns.  This odor dissipates after a bit and is not offensive unless the cheese is held under the nose.

St. Maure has lightly sweet and tart flavors.  The paste is salty, but its overall profile is tart and tangy.  On the tongue, the paste is dense and creamy.

We loved this cheese.  My kids really enjoyed this cheese and fondly named it the “Lincoln log.”  This cheese is delicious.  St. Maure offers great flavor, an unusual appearance, and an interesting story.  This cheese is perfect for a party or dinner.

Purchase Notes:  We purchased St. Maure from Cheese Plus (San Francisco); it had just arrived in the store this week.  Our cheese sample may have been on the younger side of its ripeness; peak ripeness is between 4-6 weeks.  As the cheese ages, it becomes firmer.

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