The Saracens who have built a legacy of cheesemaking introduced goats to the Loire in the VIII century. Today the French Loire is considered by the world cheese lovers as the benchmark of goat’s cheeses quality. Sainte-Maure de Touraine or just “le long chèvre” (the long cheese) is probably the most popular one. You know, I always say that best food comes from nature. Well, this cheese comes from the happiest and healthiest goats. They enjoy warm summers, luscious pastures, woodlands and wide rivers, which roll down the hills of the Loire. That is why they produce a high yield of excellent, aromatic milk.
Sainte-Maure cheese bursts with multiple flavors, making you enjoy it more and more every time you eat it. The wood ash provides a stark contrast to the pure white, slightly grainy interior. The molds add lemony fresh, slightly nutty flavor to the aromatic, herbaceous taste of the goat milk. You can also see a small straw inside of the cheese. It indicates that the cheese has been made by an artisan producer and is used to pick the cheese up, as it sticks out from both sides.
This cheese is amazing and refreshing. You can eat it on its own with or without bread; add it to the famous French Chèvre Salad (cheese salad) or use it in green vegetable soups, like the one I have just made today.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3 people
450g (1lb) broccoli
1 medium onion
1 big garlic clove
1/2 tsp mixed peppers
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 tbsp pine nuts
Sainte-Maure de Touraine goat cheese
Making the soup:
1. Put big chunks of broccoli, onion, and garlic into your pot and cover 2/3 with water. Add salt and mixed pepper. Boil until broccoli becomes soft.
2. Carefully place all vegetables (without liquid) into your smoothie maker or food processor. Then add enough of the hot liquid to cover half of your vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes.
Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth/mousse texture. Try, add more salt or liquid from your pot if needed. Blend for another thirty seconds.
3. Serve straight away with 2-3 slices of cheese and some pine nuts. To make the cheese cut evenly, without crushing, rinse your knife in cold water before cutting each slice.
Love it! The cheese starts melting once you put it into the hot soup. But it melts only on the edges, so you can still bite into it and enjoy the deliciously rich and nutty flavor. My broccoli soup (or better to say "mousse") did not fail either and came out exceptionally tender and sweet. Together they transformed a healthy green meal into a yummy burst of naughtiness... probably exactly what the Loire goats think about their luscious pastures too. Most people would say, that your cheese should go well with your soup, but I say, make sure your soup goes well with your cheese!
(You can keep the soup in the fridge for 3-4 days. And of course, you can put any other aged fresh goat cheeses into your soup.)