Cheese University (XIII): Valençay


This piece of cheese seems to come from ancient times, covered with powdered charcoal as it is, a somewhat weird pyramid with a top cut off, yet it has obtained its AOC in 1998 only. Maybe it dates back to the 15th century, nobody really knows. Maybe it was Napoleon himself who demanded the top to be cut off this cheese when he stopped by after his failed campaign in Egypt. Maybe Talleyrand, the great French diplomat of Revolution times, urged cheese makers to change the look of the cheese – there are many anecdotes around, but not many facts. Still, this cheese is a marvel wearing the proud name of the town


Some 350 or so tons are produced per year nowadays, 21 farm-house producers are in the Valençay business and a handful of more industrial cheese makers, they craft a cheese made of raw goat’s milk displaying a moist, uncooked, unpressed, snow-white pâte. Perfectly matured, after at least three weeks, the rind will be dry and firm while the interior is still soft and charming. Valençay is one of these goat cheeses with a slightly acid touch in the mouth, a very nice taste sensation indeed, balancing the acid and the sweet in a perfect manner.

If you visited the town of the same name, you’d easily feel the air of elegance that characterizes the cheese, too. Valençay castle is one of these grey-and-white marvels you really should see when travelling France. That also offered you the chance to discover the great wines of Touraine and the Loire valley, fleshy whites that go perfectly well with all the goat cheeses produced here. Crottin de Chavignol is crafted just a stone’s throw away, the same is true for Pouligny-Saint-Pierre and Selles-sur-Cher.

Haven’t found any footage dealing with the cheese but here’s a quick, nice take on the Chateau, from a balloon!


  1. Pingback: Cheese University (XXIX): Mothais sur feuille | French Food Fool

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