Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chèvrerie du Mesnil

On our school trip to Normandy last week, I was very happy that a visit to goat's cheese farm Chèvrerie du Mesnil was on the itinerary.

As goat's cheese is almost certainly my favourite type of cheese ever, I was really excited at the prospect of seeing how it is made as well as indulging in a few samples of the good stuff.

Our visit started with us being dropped off in a huge goat enclosure where we were left to marvel at the goats.

I was actually surprised at just how much the pupils absolutely loved this. The funny animals were a source of endless entertainment and everyone wanted to have a go at cuddling the newborn baby goats. Seriously so cute.

After plenty of time with the goats who seemed to really enjoy having us there and getting plenty of rubs, we met one of the farm's owners - who was really happy to speak to the kids about how the goats are reared.

She then took us all into a little goat's cheese-filled room (my mouth started watering at this point) and showed us a video (narrated by a goat, obviously) about how goat's cheese is produced. I was very interested to see this as when I am chowing down on my delicious goat's cheese I never really spare a thought as to how the sublime, creamy deliciousness actually gets to my plate.

After the video, the moment of truth - tasting the goat's cheese!

There was quite a nice little range of different goat's cheese, most of which were still quite young so very mild tasting but still lovely and creamy.

 All the cheeses I tasted were gorgeous - the younger cheeses were very light with a simple, milky flavour and a smooth, spreadable texture.

We tried quite a few different flavours of these, my favourites being the one coated in herbs, the one with sweet red peppers and the super-spicy black pepper one.

The most amazing one for me was one that was slightly more aged and therefore had a much stronger flavour and a lovely thick mould rind with a lovely gooey centre. Mmm!

What made me really happy was that our kids were little stars. Most of them had never tried goat's cheese before but all got stuck in, I even had some kids telling me they now loved goat's cheese and were going to get their mums to buy them some! Snarfing goat's cheese has brought me a lot of pleasure over the years so that pleasure being passed onto my pupils made me very happy.

Anyway we all had loads of fun at the Chèvrerie du Mesnil and I would recommend the experience to anyone travelling in the local area. For those of you who might not be able to make it to France, we were very pleased to be told that the Chèvrerie du Mesnil actually bring their cheeses to the Normandy Market in Altrincham every year! We will definitely be paying them a visit.

We left Chèvrerie du Mesnil in high spirits armed with two cheeses for our after-dinner snacking. Very delicious they were too. Lovely stuff.

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