Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Fromagerie Moreau, Pontlevoy (2015)


Five years ago we had clients who were goats cheese producers from Michigan. They wanted to meet French goats cheese makers. A friend recommended we contact Jean Luc Bilien at Fromagerie Moreau in Pontlevoy. Our subsequent lunch with him and visit to the fromagerie was a great success, and we've been friends ever since.

This is a repost from 7 April 2015, in the absence of anything new and exciting happening while we are in lockdown.

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Goats cheese maturing. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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.
Topping up Selles sur Cher goats cheese moulds with more curd. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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 (not farmhouse), 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.
Experimental and special order goats cheeses maturing. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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 fromagerie's AOP cheeses, 
Sainte Maure de Touraine logs and Selles sur Cher disks.
Sainte Maure de Touraine and Selles sur Cher goats cheeses. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Almost all of the cheese is sold in Paris, loaded into the fromagerie's 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.
A selection of artisanal goats cheeses. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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.
Sampling goats cheese in a farm shop. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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 longère 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.
A tasting platter of different ages of Selles sur Cher goats cheese. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

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. 

Sainte Maure de Touraine goats cheese in the maturing cellar. Loir et Cher. France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


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For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

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2 comments:

Sheila said...

I'm enjoying these repeat posts. Some, like this one, I recollect. But others seem quite new although I know I must have read them because I'm here each a.m. Mmmmm...senior memory lapses?

Susan said...

I think, with the best will in the world, it's inevitable that you forget some posts. It's a lot of posts over the years!

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