A delicious starter, perfect with a light white wine!
Pélardon, a little round of goat’s cheese, has been produced since Roman times in the Languedoc, and now is produced in five departments surrounding the Gard and the Cévennes region. In the eighteenth century it was one of the well-known cheeses of France, and in 2000 was granted its own appellation d’origine contrôlée status. The word originates from the Occitan language: ‘Pelaudou’.
The optimum time of year to enjoy Pélardon cheese is between May and June when the cheese is soft after the fresh pasturing over autumn and winter. It is possible to purchase different sizes of cheese, the smaller ones being more intense in flavour. Some will be covered with ground pepper, and yet others can be doused with wine, leaving a reddish tinge.
When buying, look out for an AOC sticker that guarantees the cheese originates from the correct zone and has been produced according to agreed methods.
An idea for an apéritif or for parties:
Cut the pelardon into four quarters. Using a toothpick, attach a sun-dried tomato preserved or marinated in olive oil to the top of each quarter.
Try this tantalising recipe kindly shared by the Fromagerie des Loubies in Montignargues:
Grilled Mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese
Ingredients (for 4 people)
12 large heads of Paris mushrooms
25ml dry white wine (Costière de Nîmes)
4 – 5 soft Pélous or other goat’s cheeses
salt, pepper and thyme
2 – 3 soup spoons olive oil
black tapenade (olive paste)
Chop the shallot and place in a saucepan with the seasoning.
Blanch the heads of the mushrooms around 3 min and scoop out the inside
Spread the tapenade in the inside of the mushrooms and fill with diced pieces of cheese
Season and drizzle with olive oil before grilling 4 – 5 minutes
Serve with slices of toast spread with black tapenade and a Costière de Nimes or Côtes du Rhône white.