Cheese & the Goat that Ate My Homework

 

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If you ask most people what comes to mind when they first think about France and food, more often than not you’ll probably find croissants, cheese and wine popping up in their replies. Moules-frites, fruits de mer, Cognac, truffles and patisserie also play a role in most foodies’ daydreams, but this blog-post is about cheese, and in particular, goat’s cheese. We’re not talking mass-produced here, no, we’re thinking more about those soft aromatic little cheeses that are a real speciality.

All of this started the other night when I sat opposite a French lady during dinner at a friend’s house. When the cheese course arrived she cut a small piece of the soft goat’s cheese on the proffered platter, and smiling at me she said, “A little cheese, and a glass of wine; perfection.”

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I admit, if you’re not a “goat’s cheese eater” it’s hard to be enthusiastic about them. I am the first to admit that I am not a huge cheese fan (I know everyone in France loves cheese and yes the French do think I’m a little odd). But there was something about this creamy little offering that caught my attention. Unlike many other fromage de chèvre it was not strong smelling, a fact in itself which surprised me and so I felt compelled to try just a little.

Yes, there was no way round the fact it had come from a goat, but there was a softness in the taste, which in turn was full of flavour. In my mind I instantly conjured up a plate of warmed goat’s cheese with black olives and croûtes (or crostini for the Italian lovers) and knew I would have to find out more. Was I really about to be converted? There was a label on the cheese, and glancing at it I was surprised to see the cheese was not only local, but also organic. I made a mental note of the name and decided it was time for a new culinary adventure.

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So it was that several days later we headed north one afternoon towards La Rochelle and the agricultural interior beyond. The sky was grey, unfortunately, but we ambled our way off the main road and down through a typical flowering May countryside. Slowing coming to halt at the end of a dusty track, we found a small wooden house and a barn or two leaning haphazardly across a farmyard. Grass and thistles were growing to waist height. There was not a goat in sight. As we got out of the car a large sheepdog came bounding towards us, followed by a dark haired man in mud splattered jeans. I braced myself for a country accent that would need triple-translating.

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I needn’t have worried. The instant he opened his mouth I found I could understand everything he said. He led us in between the two sheds and out into an open barn which led into a huge 7 hectare field. Fielding introductions (it turned out he was called Cedric) and questions adroitly, he turned a corner and we all slid to a stop in a line of astonishment and instant besottedness – for there, was a collection of the most beautiful goats I have ever seen. Cedric quietly leaned to one side and grinned at our reaction, no doubt something he was well used to. The children scattered along the rail and reached out to touch, caress and cuddle the inquisitive and very friendly animals, and amongst the hubbub I noticed how clean and fresh the barn was. It turned out there were 37 nanny-goats in the space, a number which Cedric deliberately keeps low to avoid the additional paperwork and cumbersome red tape that appears when the threshold of 40 animals is reached. Missing from the barn was a male, a billy-goat, since Cedric changes them every two generations and the new man had not yet arrived to take up his duties.IMG_2522

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Time passed swiftly amid a blur of excited children, gentle bumps of long horns, soft lips and shrieks of laughter at the rubbing brush on the back wall which the goats use to scrub the tissue off their horns.

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Cedric urged us out eventually, and we crossed the dusty yard to another small door in a building on the edge of the thistles. Cracking it ajar, he motioned us all inside and Roddy and I hung back as the children disappeared into the gloom. Before we had gone a step further there were shrieks of excitement from inside and a hubbub of young voices all talking at once. Gigi’s animated face reappeared in the doorway, “There are Baby goats, hurry,” she said, and grabbing my hand she pulled me inside past the recurrent grin on Cedric’s face. The sheepdog followed us in too, obviously well acquainted with the routine.

Stopping  and letting my eyes adjust to the shadows, I saw a long narrow pen with a couple of dozen small bounding creatures inside, surrounding the children and bumping them with tiny bony heads. A couple were standing upright as they leant on their new human friends, and little mouths bored and nibbled into backsides, belts, shoes, laces and loose clothing. Roddy was being mobbed by a dozen of them as he reached out with friendly hands, and before I knew what was happening Cedric had given Gigi a bottle of milk and she became the instant centre of attention. Again I was struck by how clean and fresh the barn was. It was obvious these goats were in the best of hands but my vision of eternal harmony was quickly quenched by the forthright comment of the practising farmer when Cedric explained that all the small goats were females – the males had all gone to slaughter the week before. Only one male goat can rule at any one time, it seems. As he explained though, the sale of the meat is a specialised and very essential part of the farm’s income. It is also highly sought after being of organic origin and only happens once a year when the new kids are three months old.

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I realised that the animals were erasing my sensibilities and straightening up, fired off a round of questions which Cedric answered in good humour, gracefully fielding my lapses of grammar and vocabulary and it soon became apparent that he was anything but an ordinary farmer.

In a previous life, Cedric had been a director of a centre for people with learning difficulties, close by in La Rochelle. Worn out to the bone by the demands of the work, he changed careers in his 30’s and after spending some time on a huge commercial goat/cheese farm, he found himself deeply entrenched along the organic road and decided to go and make his own cheese. Ten years ago he and his wife found the 60 hectares of land they now call their own, and shutting the door on pesticides and fertilisers, had to wait three years before obtaining the necessary certification to start making and selling organic cheeses.

Cedric, his wife, and his brother-in-law do everything on the farm. The goats are milked twice a day, nine months of the year (there is no milk from November to March, unlike a big commercial cheese facility), and the land is used rotationally, much of it set aside for the growing of hay and the other crops they feed their animals with; chick-peas, maize and wheat being the three most important. Everything they grow is untouched, from the crops to the set-asides around the fields, to the plants and grasses around the buildings and the hedgerows bordering the property.

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Each day a 100 or so artisanal cheeses are handmade by his wife, they are sold only on Fridays and Saturdays from their little shop on the farm and they sell out fast. He also provides 300 cheeses a week to a contract sale with AMAP, a cooperative which organises organic ‘boxes’ for weekly subscribers. As well as his cheeses, these boxes also contain eggs, vegetables and fruit from other producers. A small amount of the production run also goes to an organic shop in la Rochelle itself. There is never anything left over – no surplus and no waste. Cedric was keen to point out that his ideal was to work to live, and not live to work, and his annual production was a means of living that met his expectations. He has no wish to fill a bank account, but just a desire to fulfil a metier that he has chosen.

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We left the small goats at this stage as Cedric said he had something else to show us, and as we went out a diminutive little goat was picked up and joined us. Out in the sunlight the little thing followed us along, bouncing and bumbling with the children and picking at the thistles (I knew then that nothing grown ever goes to waste). Cedric explained as we walked that the kid was a new arrival, and had come from a neighbouring village where it had been found, lost. No takers had been forthcoming to claim her and as she was habituated to humans Cedric was thinking of employing her as the farm mascot, a friendly face for the shop days when families with children often roam the farm with a picnic after their purchases.

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As we headed out into the fields I became aware of a familiar sound, and soon over the tall growth of edible weeds I caught a glimpse of scurrying little pink noses and little curly tails. The children caught sight of the pigs just as I did and they were away to say hello before I could open my mouth. It turned out that Cedric also farms pigs, and his meat is much sought after by pork-lovers far and wide. Much of the French pork industry revolves around one huge co-operative, and for many it is a tasteless option, beset by all the normal ingredients of a large commercial enterprise including hormones and supplements. At Cedric’s, the pigs live their lives in the great outdoors, rolling in the finest organic mud, eating the juiciest pesticide-free plants (they turn a green field into a dustbowl in about 10 months, at which point the electric fences are moved a block down the line) and guzzling wonderful grain from an organic supplier. At any one time Cedric will have 60 pigs in various stages of growth on the go, and a waiting list of customers who want some meat. Again, I noted how everything is kept at an accountable level.

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As we left the pigs for the cheese shed, I saw some beehives tucked away in the grass, and asked Cedric if they sold their honey too. He looked a little saddened by my question, and said they would love to do so, but as the neighboring farms are not organic, he cannot. Instead they use it all themselves and give some to friends!

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As for the cheeses, they somehow became almost the most unimportant part of our visit, although they were certainly the tastiest. Cedric’s flock contains three breeds; the Alpine, the Saanen and the local Poitevine, and the mixture of milk is what makes his cheeses so special. We stood in the cheese shed, tasting, making notes and taking photographs. Then we left and headed for the car, keen to miss rush-hour and Cedric keen to milk.

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And alas, here I have a confession to make. I had indeed made notes on the cheeses, tasted them all and recorded observations that were a bit more than “yum” and “umm,” but then in the kerfuffle of saying goodbye, ushering children to the car, holding their coats and putting my camera away, I dropped my somewhat tatty piece of paper in the middle of the small dusty yard, and I can truthfully say, before I could blink or even bend down, the small orphaned goat ate my homework. This reduced the children and Cedric to gales of laughter while Roddy went bright red with mirth and was totally unable to do anything.

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As a result, without time to do it all over again, Cedric says we will have to go back and taste them once more next week, along with his pork, and his honey and I can’t argue with that!

Last but by no means least, I am very excited to have written a guest post for my blogging friend Kim at  Savvy Southern Style

You can read this tomorrow, (Friday) on her website www.savvysouthernstyle.net and I urge you to go over and follow her and have some fun reading her blog if you don’t already know it. It is full of inspiration and fabulous photos.  Thank you Kim x

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81 thoughts on “Cheese & the Goat that Ate My Homework

  • What a great post! The ending was hilarious! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and absolutely love it. I live in Southern California and have never been to France but am now ready to quit my job and move thanks to you!

    • Hi Julia, thank you so much and so happy you are enjoying following along. Let me know when you quit your job and move here, I’ll show you around! The ending was sadly very true, not enough hands to help children, hold their things and mine and shake hands good bye and I know for sure now it’s true, goats eat everything! Have a lovely end to the week, Susan x

  • Very interesting. Sure would luv to try some of that cheese. We had goats at one time many years ago. Nothing more wonderful than a baby goat. Thank you for sharing.
    SKP in Missouri

    • Hi Sharon, they were just so adorable! As you can imagine we came away with all the children asking if we could have a goat now to join the chickens! It was a fabulous afternoon in so many ways. Enjoy the rest of your week in Missouri. Susan x

  • How a search for cheese leads to so many other discoveries! It’s a lot of fun to visit farms. The produce is so much better than what you find in the supermarket.

    • You are so totally right, as the daughter of a beef/sheep farmer I guess I was always totally spoilt growing up with nothing but our own produce, now I’m afraid if I don’t know the origin of meat or at least that it has been raised humanely without added hormones I won’t eat it. It’s such fun though to give the children a glimpse of my childhood every now and then on the farm and this one was a real find! Susan X

    • Hi Penny, it really was a great way to spend an afternoon. Very down to earth, good old fashioned fun, and as one would expect, the children had a fantastic time, but so did we! Susan x

  • What fun at the goat farm. Look at all that cheese and I can tell your children really enjoyed the farm. Looking forward to sharing your post tomorrow!

    • Hi Kim, it was such fun and guess what our fridge is now full of?! It’s a good job Monday is a holiday and we are having a big BBQ and there are no prizes as to what one of the dishes will be! Very much looking forward to tomorrow too. Have a great evening, Susan x

  • Wonderful, This is just like the Calvados farm that I go to every week (not to drink excessively , you understand, but to take clients) where everything is small scale, organic and entirely built on the importance of taste. We marry the cider or calvados with a fine Neufchatel cheese and the combination is mouth-watering. I love goats cheese. I always avoided it at first as I didn’t like the idea of it, until I was invited to a friends and goats cheese melting and oozing on toast was on the menu – after that I was hooked. Just another reason to come to your part of the country. Lovely post, and drat that goat for eating your notes, but lucky that you can so easily go again.
    xx Miranda

    • Hi Miranda, no of course you don’t go to the Calvados farm to drink the calvados, it would be unprofessional!!! BUT do you drink it when you get home?!! Goats cheese on toast, sounds delicious and I’m not a cheese fan, but this is slowly converting me, it was mild and really nice. Maybe I can sense a little on toast for lunch tomorrow! I’m so glad I am tempting you to come down to the coast here, maybe in the summer?? Susan xx

      • To be honest Susan, I’m not so keen on Calvados as it’s too strong for me, but I love cider and Pommeau (cider and calvados mix) and secretly, just between you and me, at the degustation I always get given a little taste of them both along with the Neufchatel cheese, and a normandy apple tartlet (and since i’m eating I reckon that counteracts the alcoholic effects!)

      • There have to be some perks to the job! Like you I find Calvados way too strong. Finally, we have stunning weather again, hope you do too and are able to enjoy the holiday tomorrow. Susan x

  • That a wonderful recap of your day trip. I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing your whole family engaging in the beauty that France offers. These little trips off the beaten path are my favorite. I’ll look forward to reading you at Kim’s place tomorrow 🙂 Thank you.

    • Hi Amy, thank you so much, it’s these little surprise trips that nearly always turn out to be the best, back to the simple things in life. I am not sure who had the most fun, the adults or the children! Susan x

  • …sigh…once again, a lovely morning read! When I see your posts come thru I always find a quiet place in my home and a fresh cup of coffee (or wine!) and sit for a spell relishing your thoughts put so eloquently to paper! And I’m never disappointed. Your stories are so detailed and full of fun and always leave me hungry for French countryside!
    It’s like my heart rate slows down and I am right there beside you smelling the air and tasting that cheese….I am a goat cheese ho! Scuse my language but I literally enjoy it every single day. Cannot imagine being right in the midst of where it’s made. And oh my! How precious are those goats??!! Cedric puts the word “nature” and “real” and a “true farmer” in the spotlight. Wish there were more like him.
    You are giving your children the coolest opportunities to learn. What a quiet respectful life. So sad that that is missing here where we live. I’m sure yalls afternoon together will always remain a high point in their growing up years. You do good, mom!!!
    Thank you for letting visit your peaceful world this morning!

    • Hi Janey, thank you so very much. I am so glad you enjoy reading about our simple life here, it’s nothing fancy but there’s always something happening and I hope the children are having an upbringing similar to the one I had on our farm at home in England. It’s so easy nowadays for them to get so caught up in electronics and the Internet and I am glad they still enjoy these trips with us and that I am able to share them with so many people. I hope you have a lovely end to the week and weekend. Susan xx

  • What a wonderful and enchanting post Susan! Now I’m home and have some time to myself I must look back and read some of the others I’ve missed. I love goats milk and cheese and you’re whole experience at the farm, with the kids, and the beautiful photos makes me want to come and visit asap! Sending you all my love xo

    • Hi Carolyn, thank you so much and I so wish you would come and visit! We must email, I want to hear all of your news! You would love the food here and the markets and the general way of life. Susan xxx

  • This is one of the many things I love about France, All this started at the dining table eating with French people who can introduce you to exciting days out visiting a farm, with not only goats and their cheese, but baby pigs as well.. Thanks for sharing your lovely time spent on the goat farm.

    • Hi Barbara, so true! It was seriously just the simple comment “a good cheese and wine” that got me thinking about the cheese. It was just something about how she said it, it was all so unhurried and every mouthful was savoured. It is this passion for things that I find so wonderful and a real love and respect for food and where it comes from, and it certainly led to a fantastic afternoon yesterday! Susan x

    • Hi, thank you so much, it was a great afternoon for both adults and children alike! I love that the French take so much time over their meals, every mouthful is to be savoured, food and its origins is discussed at length, it is of great importance and quite rightly so. It’s a way of life we are very much enjoying being a part of. Susan X

    • Hi Candi, thank you! We had no idea what to expect so it was a fantastic unexpected surprise and the cheese is excellent. Some of them were very strong, but I prefer the very mild creamier ones. Even to a non cheese fan, they were delicious! Susan x

  • Love this, Susan!! What a great narrative of your adventure and absolutely treasure the ending to the outing!! Goat ate my homework, indeed.
    Hope you know how much I, and many others, enjoy the sharing that you do on this blog.
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Anne, thank you so very much. At the time yesterday I could almost have cried when my hard work was chewed to pieces, but by the time we got home I could see the funny side, c’est la vie! I really do love how much interaction I have with all of you and I think this is what makes it so special, we are building a little community and it is great fun to be a part of it and to be able to share our simple French lifestyle with everyone, so yes your comment is hugely appreciated. Have a lovely end to the week and weekend, Susan X

  • This is lovely. The baby goats are gorgeous (and these are smashing pics too). I am a huge fan of goats cheese and it’s so good to see the attitude of the artisans. As for your homework, I really don’t know if we should believe you…

    • Hi Pauline, alas sadly it’s true, I’m not that good at telling stories I’m afraid, I was always a useless liar at school with homework excuses, but despite growing up and living on a farm I have certainly never used this one before! I am slowly being converted to goats cheese, so long as I stick to the mild ones I think I will actually grow to really enjoy them. Have a lovely end to the week and weekend, Susan x

  • While we stayed at a farm in Wales, my husband snapped a photo of me with baby bottle in each hand feeding baby lambs that had been rejected. I was amazed how strong those little ones were. Great memories. Enjoyed reading this post and of course, every one that you publish.

    • Hi, growing up on a farm we often had orphan baby lambs in the summer. It would be the job of myself and my sister to feed them, old glass bottles used to sit on the back of the Aga in the kitchen gently warming the milk. I can remember it like it was yesterday. So I can really appreciate how much fun you had at the farm in Wales, it really is the most wonderful experience and so glad your husband was able to get a photo! Susan x

  • The goats look like a barrel of fun! Like you, I’m not much of a cheese eater, but on my side of the pond I like very much a good spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese. A glass of wine with that would also be nice. Over the years I have learned to eat several varieties of cheese, usually in recipes where it is mixed with other food, but growing up I was not exposed to much in the way of cheese, let alone something as exotic as goat cheese. And you would never catch me eating one of those little darlings. ☺️

    • Hi Judy, I never had goats cheese growing up either but I am learning to really enjoy the mild ones. Crumbled in a spinach salad sounds delicious, and someone else suggested having it melted on toast. So many wonderful ideas from everyone, thank you. I’ve never eaten goat nor have I ever seen it for sale here, but at least they are raised humanely. Have a lovely end to the week and a great weekend, Susan x

  • Those baby goats have completely captured my heart, it looks like you all had such a lovely time as a family!

    • Hi Helen, it was such a lovely fun afternoon and of course you can imagine we came away with all the children asking if we can now have a goat to keep with the chickens! Susan x

  • Kim, bonjour! It was a delight to read your adventures and see the French countryside as I love it. Down to earth both the products and the people, and the joy of the animals. And CHEESE! Like you, I am not a cheese eater (no longer agrees with me) but there was a time when I could eat it. I love any goat product (we used to eat goat meat when I was a child) and their cheese is supremely creamy.

    How fabulous that you can live in France to stay close to Mother Earth! Anita

  • Bonjour Anita, I think I probably confused you with my blog ending, but it’s Susan! Although I will happily to answer to most things!!! So glad you liked the post, it really encapsulates our lifestyle here which is indeed very down to earth but there is an immense amount of fun to be had! I do like goats milk and I am quickly being converted to the milder cheeses, perhaps I am becoming a little bit French! Susan x

  • I love goat cheese, which we usually purchase in its crumbled form and use on and in almost every savory we make. I also love working with animals and am a long-time Francophile. Cedric’s farm sounds like my dream come true. When we come to the Charente-Maritime, I hope we will be allowed to visit it.
    Our law offices had a part-time word processor who worked with us while she earned her Master’s degree in French. Her goal was to apprentice with a goat-cheese maker in France after she graduated. We haven’t seen her since she left to do just that a couple of years ago. I hope that she found someone like Cedric to learn from!

    • Hi Leslie, how lovely to hear from you again. When are you visiting the Charente Maritime? It is so wonderful to see farm’s like Cedric’s, making a living and sticking to their beliefs despite the tough economic climate. I hope the girl who worked for you was able to find a good farmer to learn from here. How fascinating that that was her goal. Cheese making is certainly an art and one the French take very seriously and quite rightly so. Have a lovely weekend, very best wishes Susan x

      • Hello again, Susan, With a long-term ill child and a sister needing help battling cancer, we won’t be able to get there in the foreseeable future, but soon after that, I hope.
        Our former employee was drawn to French goat-cheese making, as I recall, precisely because it is an art. I think it was her way of trying to become part of French culture, which she loves in all its manifestations.
        Portland, where we live, is known for many reasons, one of which is its use of a local goat-herder and his flock(?) to trim the grass and wildflowers growing on many of the City’s outdoor spaces.
        Best wishes for a beautiful Sunday, Leslie

      • Hi Leslie, I looked up a flock of goats, it would seem there are several terms, a flock or tribe of goats is often used in the US and a herd or flock of goats in the UK! I love your former employees love of her country to the extent she wanted to learn the art of an artisan. My prayers for your child and sister and very best wishes to you all for a beautiful Sunday too, Susan x

  • Goats? Hmm. I have a love/hate relationship with goats, I must admit; and yes, they can – and will – eat anything.

    But goat’s cheese is a different matter. I’m not fond of the really strong stuff that has that ‘used stable bedding’ sort of whiff, but the milder stuff is fab. I like it in a Greek salad when no feta is available, of sure.

    Looking forward to the pork edition of the post!

    • Hi Simon, I always told the children goats will eat everything that’s why we can’t have any at home in the garden and this proved my point, but of course they just found it funny and still want a goat! Like you, I now like the mild cheese! The pork edition, I like it! A return visit is guaranteed! Susan x

  • More food stuff. We need a post about oysters please. Or moules. Shellfish is the game for me 🙂 Great post though. gotta love the goat eating your notes. That did make me laugh.

    • Hi Phil, food is such an important part of French living! I know there are so many blogs relating to food and cooking, but this was more about the lifestyle, one that is increasingly rare to find and I thought it was so refreshing. I will see what I can do about shellfish, I’m always up for a challenge! Have a lovely weekend, Susan X

      • Oh Susan – I obviosuly didn’t express myself very well. I meant “Gnum Gnum, yummy, more food stuff, bring it on” sort of thing, certainly not a “Oh no, not ANOTHER food blog”! Please accept my apologies. You can write about food as much as you want!

  • I really enjoyed how your descriptions of entering various parts of Cedric’s farm unfold like the opening unexpected presents–each little area revealing a wonderful new surprise. I can only imagine the delight of the children exploring such a rich environment. Cedric and his wife are are obviously an extremely hardworking couple, but fortunate to do what they love. Thanks for sharing the visit.

    • Hi Mary, that is exactly what it was like, a new surprise around every corner, and I didn’t even mention the rabbits, the kittens which were semi wild in the barn and ran away behind the straw bales as soon as we tried to get close or the chicks! It was an afternoon of pure delight for both adults and children with such an incredible nice person. It is so lovely to see people content with their lives in this way, quite inspirational. Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

  • What a lovely story! I am a new follower and am very excited to be tagging along on your wonderful adventures! Your ability to capture my interest is delightful! Have a glorious weekend.

    • Hi Sherry, welcome to the blog, so great to have you following along and for taking the time to comment, always very much appreciated and a great way for me to get to know you. I hope you’ll enjoy our adventures as we start to head into summer and the warmer weather! Have a wonderful weekend too, very best wishes Susan x

    • Hi Vicki, so happy to have you following along and welcome to the blog! I love receiving comments and getting to know each and every one of you, this is what makes the blog so special. Have a lovely weekend, Susan X

  • Oh I love goats…………….and they loooooooooooove paper and crinkly things! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!

    SO enjoyed the visit to this farm – felt like I was there with all of you for the entire tour. Really wonderful to hear about his farming practices as well. Had to giggle when you mentioned that the origin ( being a goat) of the cheese could still not go unnoticed………..but, because, and only because of this post…….I shall try, again, to enjoy goat’s milk cheese! It sounds like you were won over – so I shall try too!!

    • Hi Jamie, well you can imagine the children of course now want goats, but I have had to be very firm and say No! I know they would destroy half of our garden! It was a very special afternoon, I am not sure who enjoyed it more, the adults or the kids! When you try goat’s cheese, remember to start with a mild one, otherwise the smell alone can be rather off putting. Let me know how you get on! Have a great weekend, Susan x

  • So glad you have “discovered” a taste for goat cheese. I simply adore all kinds of cheese and could happily live on cheese and bread and a glass of wine, oh, and a piece of dark chocolate to end the meal.

    • Hi Nadia, you would be the perfect twin with my husband, he could also happily live on bread, cheese, a glass of red wine and, indeed that square of dark chocolate! I am slowly coming round to cheese a little more. I actually had some very nice Brebis this evening. Brebis is probably my favourite of all cheeses, although as I have said I am not a huge cheese fan and I eat it rarely, once every couple of weeks at most! Now the glass of wine, that’s a different story! Are you still in SA? Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

      • Yes, we get back to France on Thursday.
        I caught a bad cold and cough a few days ago so having to slow down the wine tasting a bit Roddy would love Fairview, they do the most amazing cheese and wine pairing and are not only a superb winery but one of the biggest cheese manufacturers in South Africa.
        Have a great weekend.

      • Hi Nadia, poor you, that’s always the downside of travelling and planes I find. I hope you will write about all of the tours you have done and post some photos, it sounds as if it has been a wonderful trip on so many levels. The weather has had a bit of a blip here, but should be improving as of today and be perfect when you arrive home!!! Enjoy the rest of your stay, Susan x

    • Ah Nadia, as well as cheese and wine can we throw a little slice or two of parma ham on the table too, please, and some proper Kalamata black olives? Perhaps a cut fig, too, and while we’re there a little tub of olive oil…..what bliss

      I love South Africa, and lived there a long, long time ago for a couple of years. I made many a regular visit out to the Boschendal winery at Franschhoek; they got to know me quite well, sigh. It was just so much more convenient, and cheaper, to buy the stuff by the case from the vineyard itself.

      • My daughter and I spent Mother’s Day at Boschendal last Sunday. I had not been in years.
        And yes, everything you mention should definitely grace the table!!!

    • Hi Lily, yes we will, it would be a great shame not to go back again and keep the notes firmly in my pocket! Also we want to go back and buy some pork too. I will keep you informed. Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

  • Susan, I have just found you from your link on Kim’s blog and I must say that I am enjoying myself tremendously reading your posts! Life in France seems like such an exciting and idyllic adventure. This story of your goat adventure was so interesting and hilarious too! I learned to love goat cheese a few years ago, and one of my favorite ways to serve it is in puff pastry with sun dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Delicious! And I have such a weak spot for those adorable goats! How can you not love them with their personalities and sweet faces? I am looking forward to reading many more posts from you. Linda

    • Hi Linda, welcome to the blog and great to have you following along. France is a great place to live and I feel truly blessed to be able to raise our children here, it’s a fabulous family lifestyle which is why I enjoy sharing it with everyone. As I am getting to almost quite like goats cheese (the mild ones) I am going to try your recipe on Monday, it is a holiday here, and we are having a lot of people over for a BBQ, it sounds delicious. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I love interacting with my readers and getting to know each and every one of you, this is what makes it so special. Have a lovely weekend, Susan x

    • The way of serving goat cheese you describe sounds particularly delicious! Is there such a thing as low-carb puff pastry (not a very French question, is that?)? Susan is great story-teller, and her life is full of stories…I’m glad you found her blog, Leslie in Oregon

  • Hi Susan, this was such an entertaining post! I’m cheese-obsessed, so I was salivating over the photos of the goat cheese, almost imagining the taste! I’m stopping here after reading your post at Kim’s! Going to sign up to follow!

    • Hi Amy, welcome to the blog, so happy to have you following along. As you will have read I am not a huge cheese lover, but the mild goats cheese really was delicious, quite a delicate flavour and so creamy, it was quite unlike anything I had ever eaten before. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I love hearing everyone’s thoughts and likes and dislikes, it keeps this real and makes it so much fun. Have a lovely weekend. Susan x

    • Thanks so much Paulita, it really was such a fun afternoon, not sure who loved it more, the adults or the children! This definitely took cheese to a whole new level and I cannot wait to return! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Susan x

  • I started following your blog after being introduced to you through Kim’s blog that I faithfully read. Love the pictures you share and your writing.

    • Hi Sandy, welcome to the blog, so lovely to have you following along and I hope you will get to enjoy this as much as you do Kim’s. I love being able to share our French lifestyle with everyone and thank you for taking the time to comment, this is what makes it all so special. Very best wishes, Susan x

    • Thank you so much, it is great to be able to visit these places and see someone love what they do with such a passion, there love of life meaning far more than monetary gain. Susan x

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