St. Nectaire

CANTOREL Saint Nectaire, (Sahn Neck-tare) this historic cheese of the France, is crafted in the Auvergne region. It is a circular cheese with an uncooked paste, pressed, salted, with a distinctive bloomy rind. Made exclusively from the Salers cows’ milk, (a breed that produces very rich milk due to the volcanic pastures and aromatic flora of the region). Saint Nectaire has a creamy, dense texture with soft acidity and a delicate taste of hazelnuts and mushrooms. Beneath the grey rind, with white, yellow or red patches, is the pâte with creamy appearance and occasional residual holes. Saint Nectaire is crafted in two stages; first the white cheese is produced, then it is aged for two-three months in cellars. It goes well with fruits, vegetables, soups and many dishes. Enjoy it with a glass of Beaujolais or a light Pinot Noir.

THE OCCITAN CHEESE DAIRIES

Following the collection, the milk is then cultured before rennetting. Leavens made up of lactic bacteria carry out inoculation of the milk. After the formation of the curd (agglomeration of the milk) takes place, then follows cutting of coagulum, stirring in a vat, molding (the pieces of curd are cut off in order to be placed in moulds) and pressing. After pressing, the cheeses are removed from the mould and then placed in a cold room. During the ripening phase the cheese is perfected and the components of the curd (lactose, fatty acid and proteins) are transformed; this phase is also referred to as the “enzymatic digestion”. The three main forces behind this transformation are: - the bacterial flora brought by the ferments, - the yeasts, - the molds. The average length of ripening ranges from 45 to 50 days including 3 main operations: washing, salt rubbing and turning over. Each week for the first 3 weeks, the cheeses are washed. The salt assists in the whey drainage of the cheese, and also in the formation of a pinkish and bloomy rind, thus encouraging the development of micro-organisms and intensifying the flavor of the cheese. Regular case hardening of the cheese can be achieved due to rubbing and turning over. The final product is of a circular shape, at an average 8 inch in diameter, 1.9 inch in thickness and has a weight of about 3.75 lbs.

HISTORY

Saint Nectaire Cheese Introduced to the court of Louis XIV by the Maréchal of France, Henry II de Senectère (1600-1681), the Saint Nectaire contained the necessary flavors to impress the Sun King. Henry II de Senectère then devoted himself to promoting the cheese that, from then on, was to bear the name of his illustrious family (the spelling altered over the years). Its reputation was further established when Legrand d’Aussy wrote in 1768, in the tale of his journey to Auvergne: “If somebody is going to treat you over there, they will always tell you about Saint Nectaire". Saint Nectaire, consumed for centuries by only the local population, won over the aristocracy in the second half of the 18th century.

PRODUCTION

The production area of Saint Nectaire cheese is one of the smallest PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) areas in France, whose limits have been legally set by the decree of the 1st December, 1955. Its territory is limited to 72 communes, on a rich volcanic area, that of the Monts Dorés, at an altitude ranging from 750 to 1,200 meters. Saint Nectaire cheese must only be developed with cow’s milk coming from the area of registered designation and must be produced within this area of registered designation. Cantorel Saint-Nectaire is produced in the area of Lanobre in the heart of Auvergne. There are two kinds of Saint Nectaire (considering that the crafting stages): Saint Nectaire farmhouse cheese: a raw cow’s milk cheese, an uncooked pressed cheese with bloomy rind presenting some white, yellow or red moulds. It contains 45% of fat in dry matter and its dry extract is 52%. Saint Nectaire dairy cheese: the only difference with the farmhouse Saint Nectaire comes from its method of production carried out in the dairy processing plant. It is most often produced from pasteurized milk.

CRAFTING

Saint Nectaire Cheese Following the collection, the milk is then cultured before rennetting. Leavens made up of lactic bacteria carry out inoculation of the milk. After the formation of the curd (agglomeration of the milk) takes place, then follows cutting of coagulum, stirring in a vat, molding (the pieces of curd are cut off in order to be placed in moulds) and pressing. After pressing, the cheeses are removed from the mould and then placed in a cold room. During the ripening phase the cheese is perfected and the components of the curd (lactose, fatty acid and proteins) are transformed; this phase is also referred to as the “enzymatic digestion”. The three main forces behind this transformation are: - the bacterial flora brought by the ferments, - the yeasts, - the molds. The average length of ripening ranges from 45 to 50 days including 3 main operations: washing, salt rubbing and turning over. Each week for the first 3 weeks, the cheeses are washed. The salt assists in the whey drainage of the cheese, and also in the formation of a pinkish and bloomy rind, thus encouraging the development of micro-organisms and intensifying the flavor of the cheese. Regular case hardening of the cheese can be achieved due to rubbing and turning over. The final product is of a circular shape, at an average 8 inch in diameter, 1.9 inch in thickness and has a weight of about 3.75 lbs.

RECIPES


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written by Pandora Charms Bracelets, April 04, 2012
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