The origins of the Picodon date from long ago. It was born of the scarcity of milk during winter. Farmers created this succulent cheese to be able to conserve the white nectar.
The first evidence of this goat's cheese goes back to the 14th century in the Ardeche communes of Tournon and Saint-Félicien as well as the towns of Dieulefit and Valréas in the Drôme. In the 19th century, its fabrication methods and gustatory quality were codified. That was the start of an excellent reputation.
To make a good Picodon, they start with goats raised in the Mediterranean sun, a hot and dry climate and add to that the flavoursome taste of Provence and a hint of hazelnut.
The goats are of the following breeds: Saanen (with a white, slightly mottled fleece), Alpine (with a chamois fleece), Massif Central (long-haired), Rove (a rustic goat with spiral horns) and the local breed (which has become mixed over the generations). They feed mainly on grains produced at the farm and fodder. In early spring, they graze in open pasture.
These conditions yield a white and lukewarm whole milk to which fermenting agents are added for the process called the curdling. It then coagulates in big tubs before being ladled into a cheese strainer. The whey drains off and in a few days the fresh cheeses are ready to be eaten.
But 14 days of drying on racks are necessary for the cheese to become a Picodon.
The Picodon has the shape of a hockey puck with a diameter between 5 and 7cm. The cheese is white or yellowish and its texture is fine and supple.
There are 2 types of maturing processes: The Classic, which produces with a bluish and white rind, and the Dieulefit with a washed rind and longing ageing.
With more time to mature, the cheese becomes deliciously crumbly and reveals all the flavours that characterize it.
The Picodon can be marketed after a minimum of one month following the renneting.
Since 1983, the Picodon bears the AOP label; the methods used in making it perpetuate the craft's tradition.
The picodon, goat's cheese
Goat farm in the Drôme
The picodon on a bed of lettuce
Red goat in a farm
Tray of picodons on the market
The Picodon Syndicate - Quartier Pontignat Ouest - 26120 Montélier
+33 (0)4 75 56 26 06http://www.picodon-aop.fr