Image: the milking shed, Mas Coste
Spring has sounded its arrival – rather than creeping in quietly, Le Printemps has burst into our lives. After months of shivering and huddling in winter coats, there is a sense of liberation as layers are discarded in favour of short sleeves, and boots are simply too hot. The heart of Céret is alive with optimism as locals come out from hiding and frequent the outdoor cafés – basking in the sun’s welcome warmth.
I am adjusting to what will be the rhythm from now on: up at 6am, before the light has the chance to illumine Canigou, and then driving up the mountain to l’Albère (past my previous home, Mas Reste) to Mas Coste. Cheese-making started this week, and after the experience gained last season, I can now appreciate how the consistency of the milk alters throughout the year. As mothers nurse their kids, the goat’s milk is rich and creamy – the whey golden – in contrast to summer and autumn, when the whey is less opaque and very faintly tinged ‘lime green’.
I travelled with a ‘glacière’ to carry home my treasure; my first punnet of fresh goat’s curd. Although it is delicious spread on a baguette, dinner was a simple dish of baked mushrooms – stuffed with curd, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and emmental…