The Loire Valley, in France is famous for its production of high quality goat's cheese and St. Maure is a classic Loire Valley chèvre, made in the shape of a small log with a stick of straw running horizontally through its middle.
The method of production for this cheese is still very traditional. Milk is heated to 62°-68°F and coagulated for 24 hours before being ladled into long, cylindrical molds and drained naturally. The cheese is then removed from the mold and a long straw inserted, designed to hold the fragile cheese together and ventilate its interior.
The cheese is then covered with salted, powdered charcoal and laid on a board to complete drainage. Affinage takes between ten days, and three to four weeks, within AOC specified areas. Production of the cheese may be fermier, artisanal or cooperative and takes place at one of approximately 50 local farmhouses, together with a handful of co-ops.
During maturation cheeses are turned every day in a well-ventilated, cool cellar at 50°-59°F with 90% humidity. At ten days of age, cheeses have a pale yellow rind with no mold development. At this stage, the paste is still soft and has a pronounced tang. However, during the third week, a blue mold forms on the rind, which has now become drier. The paste also changes and becomes drier, denser and smooth.
The paste of St. Maure can range from semisoft and moist, when fresh and young, to dense and firm when older.
With a young cheese, flavors remain young and acidic with citrus notes. With age, flavors intensify and become more nutty and salty, but nevertheless delicious.
A perfect companion to Fumé Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sancerre.