Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fabrication des Fromages de Chevre


Begins with a beautiful drive over two mountains in the dark. Each day the sun rose just as I was entering Lairiere. The farm was just on the other side of the village.

As I arrived Wilko and Clamont would be milking the goats. The milk is then transferred directly to a big vat on the other side of the wall in the fromagerie for heating.

Once the milk has hit the proper temperature, its time to test the PH level. This will determine the amount of renet necessary. Renet is then added to each of four large plastic tubs and the milk is poured in. These tubs remain exactly like this with as little movement as possible over night.

While we fill the tubs for tomorrow's cheese Clamont takes the goats out for the day. They get dropped off at a different location each morning and are left free to roam until the evening.

In order to find them again, because they journey far and wide, little gps trackers have been placed on their collars.

While the goats are being placed to roam, its time for me to mold the chevre from yesterday's vats. Scooping the curd into little plastic molds to dry overnight.

Each day one or two of the plastic vats are reserved and placed in cheese cloth to dry for a few hours to make either a ricotta style cheese, a Buche (the rolled logs) or Pave (a triangle shaped molded cheese)

Of course, before today's cheeses can be molded, yesterdays must be removed from the molds and salted.

...And the cheese from the day before that needs to be turned and placed in a cooler with humidity and temperature control.

And on one special day we decided to try and make Mozzarella de Chevre. The flavor was spot on but keeping the temperature constant for stretching proved difficult without the proper equipment so the consistency was off.

Perfecting the Mozzarella is going to be my special project back in SF, more on that to come...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Arriver Paris

Ahhh, Paris...

Here I sit in my beautiful parisian apartment with rain hitting the skylight. Sipping a nice white wine and listening to TSF Jazz.

Life is good.

After a day of getting acquainted with my neighborhood, I can say I think I chose well.

Great little shops, brasseries and cafes abound. Interspersed by an array of very Missionesque hipsters. Or "bobo's" as I have learned they are called here. A very apt name that will be brought back to SF with me...

The route (NYC, Iceland) I took to get here was excellent. the Blue Lagoon is definitely a worthy destination for any lover of hot baths. Although I must say I was less enraptured by the idea of rubbing the clay on my face than my fellow patrons. Especially after picking up numerous clumps only to find a disturbing amount of other peoples hair trapped within. Definitely glad I sprang for the exclusive lounge and would highly recommended it to any visitor, the private changing room and shower alone were worth the admission price.

I post the above picture because I know Mike is a big fan of the "troll under the bridge" that I randomly captured, this ones for you dear.

Although I was told that the food in Iceland was horrible I did manage to find a little restaurant called Fiskfelagid (or The Fish Company in English) Apparently its about a year old and the chef has already won the prestigious best chef in Iceland award.

I thought the food was quite tasty although for the molecular gastronomy thing they are doing the portion sizes were HUGE.

This one here is the beer crusted Artic Char and dry crusted Salmon, with walnut powder, Salmon Roe, real mustard sauce and malt ice cream.

Its a starter, you should've seen the size of the main course! Then again I suppose Iceland was populated by Vikings, they are probably not used to normal fine dining portion sizes.

I mean just look at the difference in size when compared to this starter of Caviar Over a Crisp Poached Egg, Smoked Salmon from L'Atelier de Joel Rubuchon in NYC.

Which I believe it goes without saying was absolutely fabulous!

The whole meal both food and company (being joined as I was by my BFF Katie) were awesome.

I mean really just spectacular....

Ok I suppose thats all for now -- I am planning to hit up this little taco stand (yes you read that right) around the corner from my apartment, if this rain ever lets up...

According to some Ex-Pat Missionite San Franciscan's it's like a taste of home and worth trying, I'll be the judge of that...

More pics and tales will follow, until then I bid you all a fond adieu.