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Posts Tagged ‘brebis’

Ekiola Sheep in the Pyrenees Mountains

Ekiola Sheep in the Pyrénées Mountains

A trip through the French Basque country is one of distinct sights, scents, and flavors. Rolling hills of green pastures are punctuated by craggy mountain peaks and deep valleys, and sheep are everywhere! When Ihsan, Valerie and I traveled through the area in the fall, we tasted a huge array of sheep milk cheeses and an assortment of intense but beautiful wines. Here, we’re featuring a few of our favorite tastes: Ardi Gasnas from Fromagerie Pardou and Ekiola, and a killer red wine from Domaine Ilarria of Irouléguy. Ardi Gasna (or gazna) is Basque for “sheep cheese,” and these smooth, rich sheep cheeses are a specialty in the Pyrénées mountains.

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Clos Centeilles Côtes du Brian Blanc

Patricia Domergue is the leading lady behind the delightful wines of Clos Centeilles, a 14 hectare estate located in the La Livinière cru of Minervois. Minervois is an appellation in the westernmost part of the Languedoc in southern France. Before purchasing this property in 1990, Patricia studied oenology and worked in the Bordeaux region, but she was ultimately drawn to the Languedoc for its rich viticultural history and unique terroir.

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Fourme d'Ambert

Fourme d'Ambert

History was my major in college and, when I read about cheeses, it is the history behind them that particularly fascinates me. For example, I love being able to imagine folks in the 9th century enjoying Fourme d’Ambert when I sample out that classic, French blue cheese to customers in the shop.

Some cheeses have changed quite a lot over time. Saint-Marcellin is a prime example. Originally this was a goats’ milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves. As the centuries passed, however, production shifted to favor cows’ milk and, today, the cheese is pretty much known as a cows’ milk cheese. As well, Saint-Marcellin is rarely leaf-wrapped these days; it is sold in small crocks (which, when no longer holding cheese, I like to use for all sorts of things from laundry quarters to paper clips!). (more…)

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