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spicy little goat cheese

Picodon au lait de chèvre thermisé - Appellation d'Origine Protégée - Laiterie industrielle Valcret à Crest (Drôme)

Picodon means ‘spicy little cheese’. Made in a wide area around Valence along the banks of the Rhône since the 14th century, these puck shaped cheeses use whole unpasteurized goat’s milk. Aged for at least eight days, the cheese goes from pure white and mild to increasingly yellow, drier, with a hard golden crust and a goût caprique prononcé (distinct goaty taste).

There are several varieties: tangy Ardèche, the most common; high quality, strong tasting Crest; well-aged Dauphiné; both young and mature Dieulefit (affiné méthode Dieulefit means it is at least 30 days, and the rind is washed in clear water); and Drôme, often the mildest.

Picodon production is on the front lines of adapting to a hotter, drier climate in the south of France. Because the pastures in many years no longer produce enough grass, farmers are experimenting with sorghum and other drought-resistant plants to see if the feed influences the taste of the milk and the cheese.

You can learn more about it in the ripening rooms of the Fromagers fermiers du Peytot at Planzolles (Ardèche) at the Terra Cabra Musée de la chèvre et du picodon.

Picodon à l'huile d'olive is marinated in olive oil; Picodon affiné lavé is aged for at least 30 days and washed in wine, packs a wallop.

AOPs and some others

Auvergne Rhône Alpes

Cheese and dairy

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Xavier Caré