Panier of Plenty

Heating Up

Thursday April 17th

As temperatures increase and the grass shoots up after rain, there is another leap in production at the fromagerie. The baby goats have now gone off to ‘greener pastures in the sky’ and the quantity of milk is augmented; from the original 10 litres when I started a month ago, to 110 litres. My routine is getting more complicated as this morning I ladled curd into 103 moulds and prepared 60 litres of milk for ‘lactiques’ (rounds of organic unpasteurised goat’s cheese).



Yesterday, I learnt how to pasteurise the milk for the first order of ‘formagets’ which are sold fresh in little pierced tubs. Milk cans are in the ice bath awaiting the next stage of learning, tome production, as Easter marks the start of the busiest period…

Fromagerie interior, sterile and 20°C

Fromagerie interior, sterile and 20°C

Iris at the entrance

Iris at the entrance

Petit lait for the pigs

Petit-lait for the pigs

Good Friday. April 18th

…The first tomes of the season, ‘batch 0’ are drying in the chambre d’affinage. I am reviewing my extensive notes and diagrams (timing and temperature control is crucial, as are the multiple turnings of the moulds as they drain) and preparing for my first partially solo production on Easter Monday. Standard attire is a very long apron, white gumboots and short sleeves: the warm solid curd is sliced into cubes in the cauldron and then broken by massaging it by hand with submerged arms, for at least half an hour. The resulting grainy curd (which sinks to the bottom of the whey) is then poured into large, medium or small moulds, lined with a form of mesh which gives the rind its character as a ‘traditional Pyrenean mountain tome’.

160 litres of goat's milk

160 litres of goat’s milk

Preparing tome moulds

Preparing tome moulds

This entry was published on April 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm. It’s filed under Animals, Country Life, Country Living, Cuisine, Culture and Arts, Environment, Europe, Ex Advertising Creative, Expat, Food, France, French Culture, La Vie Quotidienne, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Lifestyle, Living in France, Nature, New Zealander in France, Pets, Photography, Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Rural Life, Seasons, South of France, Tree-change, Working in France and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Heating Up

  1. mesarapugs on said:

    You sure have a busy schedule!! They are lucky to have you there and it is so very interesting! Thank You for sharing and giving such a great visual account of the process 🙂

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