A choice of Corsican goat cheese, that keeps its promises

Goats + shepherd 005This is not just a choice of goat cheese, it’s a cheese I have been eating for years now. Martin Luciani, shepherd, looks after his goats up around Pevani (which is a small hamlet, off the main road from Ajaccio to Cargèse) and where before any building started, was full of barley and wheat when the goats were growing up. It’s worth visiting this area, for the scenery is tremendous overlooking the Gulf of Sagone and thereabouts, even for a days outing, and a very popular site for those who delight in catching and tasting sea urchins, which attracted crowds in the past – there are those in Ajaccio who still speak of Pevani and keep fond memories of picnics and fishing.
His cheese is, in my opinion, certainly one of the best on the market; through texture, flavour and the colour speaks for itself. He has been making cheese for 40 years too, his grandfather started the family production so, we’re into the third generation here.

One notices the colour is slightly darker than industrial cheese, and a way to recognise good cheese too, he strongly maintains if holes are to be found inside, this is a negative sign to be watched out for. He produces around 20/day from the beginning of the year up to the hotter season. During the summer months, and more precisely from June to September, Martin goes up the mountains to Vizzavona with his goats, so they may graze in cooler temperatures.

This shepherd has 400 goats, and knows each and every one of them individually, and they all have names too – and on top of that, he knows every kid, and to which mother they belong to!.  Accompanied by his six ‘labrit’ dogs (a type of Pyrenees Shepherd), who are not trained but very efficient, Martin says they already know from instinct how to work and he relies on them daily.

December to July, are our months for making the delicious brocciu here, and he produces around nine/day. Let us remember that brocciu stays fresh for four to five days, and is usually used in cooking after three days. The quality of water also has an effect on the quality of brocciu, it can make all the difference here and is even better when made up the mountains.                                                                            Goats + shepherd 001

It’s far from being an easy-going life, the life of a shepherd – although one is isolated and far from the hustle and bustle of the city, we must remember that they never have a day off, working every day of the year .. Martin starts off at 2.00am and milks the goats straight through until the late afternoon. One can say it is a passion, transmitted through the generations, where a sense of heritage/culture enter and rule a style of life, living outside most of the time too – no matter what the weather is like. A solitary life, certes, in unison with nature and all she offers, and where the history of Corsican cheese is undoubtedly attached to the island’s mountainous character.  Goats + shepherd 006

Now, where can one find this choice of cheese ?

As surprising as it may seem, firstly, at the airport in Ajaccio.

Secondly, at the Hotel Le Riviera (on the road to Calvi), Alata. I for one, recommend it as I have never been disappointed with it, over the years.

One comment to A choice of Corsican goat cheese, that keeps its promises

  • joel  says:

    Excellent article qui met bien en valeur la qualité et l’authenticité d’un fromage respectueux de la tradition.

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