Saturday, August 24, 2013

La visite gourmande de la fromagerie Beillevaire.

 After my post on fromager Beillevaire (pronounce that BAY-vaire) I inquired if it was possible to visit the fromagerie. Perfect timing. There was a visite on Thursday and I was their guest to a tasting/degustation lunch.
I took the 7:23 TGV to Nantes in Loire-Atlantique and then a Transilian type local train to Machecoul et voila!
We did not don gowns and masks and do a walk-about, but could see into many areas while our excellent guide, Nathalie gave us a slide show and detailed explanations of all the processes involved. The tour is IN FRENCH but there was someone to translate important bits of information like "My husband does not want to be on the Internet etc." This is the yogurt area.
Here the fabulous beurre  de barette is churned inside the rolling wooden barrel the old way on the left (please pronounce that Barr-rat-tay more or less...) Absolutely the best tasting butter you can find in France in my brief experience. I had to get up and eat several small piece of bread with baratte butter just to write about it = irresistible.
Those delicate striations you see on cheese are from turning it on metal racks (a bit like Champagne is turned regularly). There is no set number of times a depends on the look and feel of the cheese I was told.
Nathalie explains the types of cheeses found throughout France. I must get a proper cheese book! Suggestions are most welcome.
We had a mini tasting of four different lait cru (unpasteurized) cheeses from Beillevaire -Brun de Noix (with a walnut outer 'skin', a creamy chèvre 'Pont d'Yeu', Rocher Nantais,and a 'Secret de Couvent'.
Then off to lunch at the home of the parents of Pascal Beillevaire. My first cow sighting.

It's set in the marais or marches.
there were 15 of us so we ate family-style and good thing or I would have been "lost in translation". I sat next to Emanuelle, my own personal translator.
Our first plateau of cheeses were for 'Apero' time - no bread or butter is served with these. A Cantal, the Brun de Noix and the orange cheese is an aged Mimolette extra-vielle with hazelnuts and piped cream. Served with a Rose.
Second plateau was Somport Fermier, a 'Maki' de Chevre frais aux legumes croquants/crunchy vegetables, very unusual and tasty wrapped in seaweed, and a Rouleau de Beaulieu et olives confiturees(a Provencal olive jam to die for and a new product with Beillevaire hopefully coming out soon.
This is Emanuelle's plate who knows how to serve herself cheese beautifully. A pad of beurre a baratte is on the side in case you were wondering.
Oh la la.. Third plateau: Pitchounet, Fumaison et jambon de Vendee et Crème de Roquefort et figue cake (which will be available in December). The touch of Roquefort cream on top was the perfect contrast. Served with a red from Corbieres Domaine de La Roche Vive.
We got a little breather of fresh vegetables from the farm. I got up and went out to look at the marshes and get some oxygen. I was getting coma-'fro'maged.
Last course served with a different red - Cotes de Tongues Cepage Merlot, Grenache et Syrah. Saint-Felicien et viande de grison ( a special Swiss way of air-drying beef) and a Gruyere d'Alapage et pate de coing(a squiggle of quince cream on top).
You know I don't/can't drink much but I woke up immediately for the ris au lait au CARAMEL a toute a suite!
Sadly I could not stay to visit the cows/vacheresse post-dejeuner. I had to catch a train back to Nantes and then back to Paris.
But the same cow as above is embossed on the Beurre de Baratte lait cru from Beillevaire and I can not tell you how many times I have visited that cow while writing this post or their wonderful chevre Pont d'Yeu. A tres Grand Merci to Beillevaire for giving me an unforgettable experience/une experience inoubliable vraiment! The degustation dejeuners is worth the traveling.  But there are 12-13 Beillevaire shops in Paris so do not miss out.


  1. Coma crack me up!

    That was an incredible tour. A few years back we went into the caves at Roquefort for a tour which ended with a simple tasting. Very nice.

  2. How fun and interesting!
    The grounds..their home..I was expecting Monet's relatives:-)
    Watched Therese Desqueyroux last night,the last scene is shot in Paris..thought of you.

  3. A great cheese book is DK Eyewitness Companions French Cheese. Amazon has it used for about ten dollars.

  4. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Hope nobody was worried about cholesterol levels after all these cheese courses. I see they have a branch in London, must check it out on next visit.

    1. Parisbreakfast10:21 AM

      What's cholesterol?
      Doesn't sound like fun
      These are little bites after all.

  5. J'aadore la frommage so je suis tres jaloux about your visit! I hope you slipped those little cheese signs into your bag to add to your collection.:)

    That stocky cow in the middle of the pack is too cute! Thanks for taking us on such a great trip! xx Katie

  6. Carol!
    Thank you for this post! On a Saturday evening,once a month, my husband and I have a meal with special cheeses, vegetables, fruits and duck sausage (made out of the birds that he hunts every autumn). I am always seeking new varieties of cheese to try and pretty ways to present the meal! You are so inspiring!

    1. Part of the great fun was the little accompaniments to the cheese to contrast and bring out their flavoring

  7. Thank you so much for your blog. I get to travel through out Paris and parts of France with you. Per your latest blog, La visite gourmande de la fromagerie Beillevaire, you asked for suggestions on books on cheeses. There is one entitled, French Cheeses by Kazuko Masui and Tomoko Yamada with a foreword by Joël Robuchon. It's a cheese bible!
    There are a few iPhone/iPad apps,
    I have Univers fromages which is free. I look forward to reading more of your culinary adventures.

    1. Univers Fromage is interesting and good for one's French I suppose.

  8. Love, Love Cheese!
    Thanks for making me hungry! :)

    Manda from Eat Cake

  9. Anonymous1:51 PM

    What a wonderful experience through your blog! It has made my day just reading it. Thanks so much.

  10. Anonymous2:10 PM

    What heaven...I could not move after snacking on all of those lovely cheeses....

  11. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Carol, wow, what a fantastic experience. Cheese paired with wine is one of my favorite food combinations, hoping I never have to give it up. Amazing to see the "cheese sushi" and the various presentations; they are so creative and so are you. Merci beaucoup for sharing it with us!

  12. Anonymous3:55 PM

    When I went to my cheese class at the Cheese School of San Francisco, my friend who had just returned from Paris in July showed a picture of a bright orange cheese she had eaten but did not know the name of. The teacher said that it was a Mimolette. Asking at the local Whole Foods Market this week she was told that it cannot be sold in the U.S. What's up with that?

    1. There are many, many French cheeses NOT sold in the US. Anything with lait cru or unpasteurized milk for example.

  13. Oh I knew you'd have such an amazing day at the farm. How great to see where the butter and cheese that you're eating comes from. That lunch looks amazing- I was most surprised by the sushi style cheese.

  14. Oh,Carol! Heaven! Absolute heaven!
    (and low carbs,too!)
    Sweet dreams ce soir!

  15. Anonymous2:23 AM

    The other book I have, w/o any pix is the Guide de Fromage ( English and French versions)
    that I got way back when ( published in 1973) at the Parisian restaurant called Androuet.. do you know it? Not even sure it still exists. No pix, but lots of info. Oh.. just checked this out on amazon, and there is
    a 1988 version..

    1. ANDROUET now has 3 cheese shops in Paris and an excellent website for informations:

  16. Anonymous2:35 AM

    OMG! This was so fabulous! I just wait for Paris Breakfast every day.......for three years now! I am so glad you took my advice to move there! Ha! ha! I know you wanted to do it anyhow! I would not miss one of your posts for the world!! Keep up the good work. You're truly where you should be!

  17. Anonymous2:08 PM

    What an experience to have even if you can't understand every word, so many different cheeses all in one day. Beautifully presented on those platters. I'm sure it was well worth the early train journey.

  18. I love the pictures of the farm, the marsh, and the countryside. The cows & the horse makes me wish I was there instead of in the city.
    I'm not a cheese person, but it all looked good! That butter must be something :)

  19. Just want to say j'adore your sketches of all this cheesy abundance. Wish I had your talents!

  20. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I am so glad you showed the plate with selections on it. I have never seen food served in boxes so I thought that was all for one person (which was way more than I could ever think about eating!).
    I love how you discuss food. You just make me hunger to come to Paris and explore. What a gastronomical feast!

    1. Those are cheese boxes Susan
      They must pack them for delivery in them I think but a clever way to serve them
      Every detail was well thought out

  21. Sigh. There is NOTHING in this post not to love. Looks like a fabulous day!

    And I was delighted with the interview on the Paris Eye... No wonder I like you so much!


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