Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gaperon d'Auvergne

A visiting friend tasted a particular cheese local to Lyon and noted that it tasted much better at the source. If you are ever traveling in France, don't pass over a local cheese because you can get it from your favorite cheese purveyor at home! You'll really miss out on something special. If you love cheese, you know that every fromagerie has certain cheeses they handle well. There's an alternative choice to hitting 5 different cheese shops for the perfect cheese plate, of course. Lets say you have a few hours with which to travel in any direction. You can go a place where cheese is made and experience it first hand, learn something new, and gather up a few to make a plate. Most likely you will come to a new understanding of that region's cheese.

This weekend we went to the Auvergne and brought home some local artisanal Gaperon. We can get this type of cheese in Lyon and it is indeed shipped all over the world, but believe me, the on-site version gave us a whole lot to think about. The original Gaperon was considered to be a low fat cheese, because it was traditionally made with the whey leftover from butter making (buttermilk) which is naturally low in fat. In the local Auvergnat dialect, the word for buttermilk is "Gap". However, most contemporary versions use only whole milk. The fat content of the artisanal Gaperon that we found this weekend was 50 percent. The effect of this on the stages of affinage is really pronounced, developing a beautiful complex flavor starting under the skin and moving in toward the center. It is a raw milk cheese that is flavored with garlic and black and white peppercorns and cured in a ball shaped form for about 60 days before being sent to market.

The photo above is of one of the many black Maries found throughout the Auvergne, this particular one looking out to the volcanic mountains from atop the Notre Dame Cathedral in the town of Clermont Ferrand.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a delicious cheese! We came across it recently in a fromagerie near place Léon Blum in Paris and decided to skip dinner, just have some Gaperon on rye toast instead. Stinky but sooo goooood.

2:40 PM, November 09, 2010  

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