In July we took our first trip to France, to visit Andrew’s godparents in the Vendée area of the Pays de Loire region. We stayed in a small town near the coast and were able to take a few trips to some local markets. At the biggest market we went to, in Challans, we purchased cheeses from a couple of local stalls.
Vendee Chèvre. A small local prodcuer who was selling their cheeses direct at the market. All were Fromage de chèvre au lait cru – raw goats milk cheeses. The cheeses were just labelled with a simple description – buche, sec, affine etc. There were about 6 types of cheese and a few fresh fromage frais type products available. When Noël told the lady at the counter we were cheese makers from New Zealand, she gave us a few extra cheeses to take away!
Fromagerie Beillevaire – Maître Fromager. A large cheese monger based in Machecoul (between Challans and Nantes), this large counter had many different types of cheese from around France. They run tours of their cheese factory and maturing rooms but we did not have time to fit this in during the week.
What will follow is a flurry of new cheeses, raising our count from a measly 14!