The spicy cheese
The Picodon D’Ardeche is a goat cheese with 45% fat, and made in the region of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps. This versatile product can be used in various ways, depending on its age.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Coming in small, flat, circular disks with a hard natural rind, the picodon is made with only a very small amount of rennet added before being poured into their molds. At its youngest of 8 to 12-day maturity, its smooth center has a fresh, gentle taste. The longer it is aged, the more of its weight it loses, and develops a harder center and a more concentrated flavor, as well as a more pungent smell. At its oldest of at least 30-day maturity, it becomes a crumbly, dry cheese with a fuller, spicier flavor.
PAIRINGS AND PREPARATION
The picodon is a very versatile cheese. You’ll find its youngest iteration to be perfect on salads, or mixed with olive oil and herbs on bread. Feel free to try with our favorite, Sourdough Bread from Naked Bakery. Mid-age, it works well mixed with garlic and shallots, and paired with either a red or a white wine. At its oldest, it is a great addition to a cheese platter, its spiciness balancing out the gentler cheeses.
One of the best ways to enjoy this dry goat cheese is in a Cirque Ardechoise, a traditional French dish from Ardeche that is easy enough to make. Julienned potatoes are combined with eggs, garlic, and parsley. Divided into two, the mixture is spread out onto a round pan with oil, and cooked until light brown. Slices of the picodon are then sandwiched between the two potato pancakes, and sprinkled on the top, and cooked until melted. Serve with a light, crisp white wine.
THE SPICY CHEESE
The word, “picodon” comes from an old French language, Occitan. It is a language that, 200 years ago, lost to modern French as the chosen language to unify the French nation. But those in the area still speak or at least understand the old language, and can tell you with immediacy that the word literally means “spicy.
Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the butter drawer of a refrigerator, not on the shelves themselves. This is to help regulate their temperature and humidity levels — and prevents the formation of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their original packaging. Soft cheeses with delicate rinds need to breathe, so they are best placed in glass containers lined with paper towels to absorb extra moisture. Leave the lid open a tiny bit for air to circulate and don’t forget to write up a label with the date you first opened the package. Your cheese will be fine for up to one month. Cheeses are air-flown from France on demand. They are meant to be consumed within 1 to 2 weeks of their arrival at your residence.