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Tarentais (France)

Country
France
Region
Savoie
Size
2.5 ins diameter, 4 ins high
Weight
1 lb
Website
Milk
Goat
Classification
Semi Soft
Rennet
Animal
Rind
Natural

Made in the Tarentais Valley in the Savoie region of South Eastern France, Tarentais is a small cylindrical cheese made from raw goat's milk. Production of Tarentais is usually 'fermier' or farmhouse and as such, cheeses are only made on a small-scale by various cheesemakers throughout the region. Raw milk is allowed to acidify and coagulate before being very gently ladled into cylindrical molds or forms. The gentle handling of the curd ensures that as much moisture as possible is retained which, when combined with the slow, natural drainage of the whey, results in Tarentais' delicate, yet dense, texture. Cheeses mature for between 15 days to three months before release with those found in the United States being at least two months old. During the early stages of the ripening they are washed with a local white wine. If allowed to mature to an age of about four weeks, a dusting of blue, yellow and white molds often appears on the rind together with slight brown patches. The interior of the cheese is silky and dense. As Tarentais matures, two distinct textures develop with the interior of the cheese remaining ivory white in color while, just under the rind, where the cheese starts to 'break down' and develop, a darker stripe appears, encasing the paler interior. Flavors intensify with age. When eaten young at about two to three weeks, cheeses are fresh, citrus-like and tangy becoming more piquant with distinct almond notes at about six weeks.

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