Apologies all, a technical problem resulted in this post getting deleted. I have now reinstated it.
Hi everyone. Apologies for the lack of posting recently, I’ve been pretty busy making cheese with some great producers. Internet access has been something of a sore point though and my brilliant plans of posting using my smart phone received a rather crushing blow recently (smartphones, as it turns out, don’t take well to heavy rain in the mountains).
I thought that as a taster of what’s been going on, I would share this photo of perhaps my favourite scene to date in the cheese world – the milking of the Salers cow.
There is no milking parlour, we’re out at high altitude in rich, rain-drenched pastures. The Salers cow provides tasty beef, but it was the the milk that this herd was churning out that we were after. It was exceptional and rich, with deep and complex grassy notes.
The beautiful cows of the Salers breed have a tendency to hold onto their milk unless their calf is present - which is why her calf is in frame, tied to her front leg for the milking (one udder is left for the calf afterwards, leaving plenty of milk to supplement their diet). The cows get all the nutrients that they need from the vast expanses of pasture but they do like a bit of salt, so the farmer places a handful on the back of the calf, which the cow will then lick off - an act which calms the calf.
This is a long winded process - the forty or so cows are free to roam in the milking enclosure and with the addition of an equivalent number of calfs and a bull, the milking could well be described as a kind of organised chaos.
The cheese is awesome, what you’re looking for is “Salers Tradition” the “Tradition” is important, it’s a controlled term that ensures that you are eating a cheese made up in the mountains according to the traditional practises. It’s rich, buttery and heavily scented, with grassy, herby notes battling a strong dose of farmyard and an incredibly satisfying bitterness that entices you to take another bite. This is a ‘real cheese’, as real as they get – made how you would want cheese to be made. But a proper description will have to wait for another post – it’s time to get back to the farm...