Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Fromagerie Moreau Pontlevoy

The Fromagerie Moreau is conveniently situated in a 19th century farmyard right in the small town of Pontlevoy. For the past 4 years it has been owned and run by Jean Luc Bilien. When the Moreaus wished to retire Jean-Luc purchased the fromagerie part of the business and their farmhand purchased the goats.

Topping up Selles sur Cher moulds. 
All that curd will drain down to about a third of the mould.
Now the goats live on a farm about 4 km away and the farmer supplies Jean-Luc exclusively with milk for the cheese. The fromagerie makes AOP Sainte Maure de Touraine and Selles sur Cher cheeses. They are classed as artisanal, as the cheese is made from milk purchased from the farm ie they are two separate businesses, not all under one roof.

Experiments and special orders tucked away in a corner of the drying room.
Jean Luc originally trained as an agronomist, but when he left university he went to Brazil and ended up working in a cheese factory, training on the job as a cheesemaker. When he and his Brazilian wife and their children returned to France to live he wanted to make cheese in a less industrial fashion and so he bought Fromagerie Moreau.

The fromageries AOP cheeses, 
Sainte Maure de Touraine logs and Selles sur Cher disks.
Almost all of the cheese is sold in Paris, loaded into the fromageries own trucks and delivered to cheese shops and restaurants all over the city on Mondays. Only 4% of the cheese is sold direct from the farm or at the weekly market in Montrichard. Nevertheless, Jean Luc is happy to welcome visitors to the fromagerie.

The non-AOP cheeses, faisselle (fresh curd), pyramids, pavés and crottins.
There is a well stocked shop selling his cheese and other local artisanal products such as wine, onion and fig preserves, honey and terrines. The cheese is not sold by weight but by the piece. Alongside his AOP cheeses he also offers pavé de Pontlevoy, crottins and pyramids.

Jean Luc carefully cutting tasting samples.
If you are interested you can also watch the cheese being put into moulds, and if there is a group of you and you book, you can do a full tour which includes visiting the farm and the goats. Jean Luc has converted part of the longere building to a classroom and produced an excellent video that can be shown in either English or French so visitors learn about the entire process on the farm and in the fromagerie.

Selles sur Cher of different ages, for tasting.
He has a staff of 8 people, none of whom came from a cheesemaking background, and have all learned on the job. He is proud of them and quick to praise them and tell you what a great team they make.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Susan. These posts are very interesting. I'll have to stop in the Moreau place in Pontlevoy one day this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His cheeses are highly regarded -- several people including a cheesemonger recommended him to us.

      Delete
  2. Fascinating post... the young gourmet eagerly awaiting the arrival of the cheese is a lovely shot...
    in the UK the child would probably be grimacing and saying, "Don't want that... it's all mouldy!"
    Even if they had been told it is covered in ash... in fact that would probably put them off anyway!!

    One of the cheeses on the tasting board looks like a Kango hammer is needed to get some off...
    but the neatly cut edges tell different...
    that pavé de Pontlevoy looks very tempting....

    ReplyDelete
  3. And to think we spent 5 weeks in Thenay, no more than 3kms away and never discovered Jean Luc's cheeses. I hold you both responsible for not telling us. Hope you are both well.
    PS: Looks like we may be back late next year - its a secret.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep us informed about your dates and we'll hope to catch up.

      Delete