Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chabichou du Poitou

Chabichou du Poitou is made in a limited geographic area above the chalky limestone soils of Poitou. Taller and leaner than its Loire Valley counterparts, this AOC protected cheese presents a white rind tinged with gray-blue, concealing a dense, clay-like interior. The surprisingly rich, mouth-coating paste is the perfect counterpoint to acid and effervescence. Try with fresh, tart cherries or a crisp, bubbly Cava. Available throughout the year, but the best are made from spring to autumn.

Legend traces Chabichou du Poitou back to the eighth century. It would have been produced by Saracens abandoned by the fleeing armies after the defeat at Poitiers in 732 by Charles Martel. The word "Chabi", short for Chabichou, is a corruption of "Cheblis" which means goat in Arabic.

The Arab armies were composed at that time not only warriors but also any kind of cohort servants with goats, poultry, etc.. When, after the battle of Poitiers, the soldiers abandoned the fields in hopes of finding better fortune elsewhere, many, no doubt, were the servants, with their families and their herds of goats who remained on site. The countryside provided excellent pasture quality and goats gave rich milk in abundance. Those ancient "Cheblis" were the great grandparents of the "Chevre's" we know today. 

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