Fromages de Chèvre à l’Huile

Goats’ Cheeses Preserved in Oil

If there’s time, the day before we leave France I pack a preserving jar with two-week-old goats’ cheeses, tuck in some local herbs – thyme, rosemary and some bay leaves – and pour over a rich green olive oil. Tie down securely and fasten a spray of leaves from the nearest olive tree on top. The pleasure and satisfaction that one feels a few months later on retrieving the jar from a cool shelf is boundless. The grey-green olive leaves have shrivelled and curled like flowers kept from a wedding bouquet, but the cheese has grown in flavour, rich with the fruity oil and the fragrance of the herbs.

Ingredients

  • 8–10 goats’ cheeses, 2–3 weeks old
  • a few peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • bay leaves
  • about ¾ litre(1–1½ pt) olive oil

Method

Pack the cheeses into the jar. Add the peppercorns and herbs and fill the jar with olive oil. The cheeses must be completely covered with the oil.

Place a tight-fitting lid on the jar and secure well. For travelling it is best to seal the lid with plastic parcel tape. Store the jar in a cold place for 1–6 months. Serve the cheeses with warm bread. Use the remaining oil in salad dressings.

An alternative is to replace the olive oil with a dry, white, local wine and store for 3–8 weeks in a cold place.

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