Made at the monastery at La Dalmerie, northwest of Montpellier in southern France, Lingot Saint Nicolas de la Monastère is produced from raw goat’s milk. Like most monastic communities, the monks at La Dalmerie support themselves by practicing sustainable agriculture on their property. Beginning in 2001, the monks cleared and reclaimed approximately 30 hectares of previously abandoned land which which provides ideal forage such as thyme for their herd of dairy goats. Milk from the goats is used for cheesemaking, which takes place seasonally from spring to autumn under the careful supervision of Father Marcel. In order to meet new European regulations, a complex of buildings consisting of a goat barn, a cheesemaking facility and additional storage were constructed, all of which incorporate state of the art technology that allows the monks to carefully control milk and cheese quality. Cheeses are sold to various French affineurs for finishing before being released at an age of about 3-4 weeks. Lingot Saint Nicolas has a wrinkled rind, ranging in color from ivory (pictured) to a golden straw yello. The interior paste is slightly flaky and fudge-like with a semi-soft texture. Flavors of the pasture are clearly reflected in the cheese, which has light yet distinctive notes of thyme and herbs balanced with a rich earthy essence.