Sainte-Maure goats cheese is the ubquitious local cheese and a favourite of mine.
Sainte Maure is made from raw goats cheese, formed into a 16 -17 cm log and dipped into ground ash before being ripened anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks.
Its texture is when young is dense and almost fudgy, going creamy around the edges and even denser as it gets older. It is often described as having a mildly nutty aroma and a lemony tang on the tongue. The taste when older is fuller and suits perfectly the local wine.
The most distinguishing feature is a straw running inside the length of the cheese, which is used to help hold the log together. Locals tell tourists that it is to give the maggots an easy way to get out of the cheese, quelle blague! I was also told that each straw is numbered to ensure that the cheese’s origin can be checked, yeah right I said. But on triumphant inspection this proved to be the case, I didn’t believe the assertion that teams of children are kept in Sainte-Maure for the purposes of writing the numbers on straws. I understand that French employment law is far to strict for that kind of behaviour, the children are probably kept elsewhere.
In any event a nice dinner is simply not complete without a piece of Sainte-Maure or if times are tight a goats cheese that looks and taste exactly the same but without the straw and a Euro cheaper. I don’t buy the strawless cheese to save money but as a blow against child labour, I’m right on about that kind of thing.