Selles sur Cher
Produced in the village of the same name in the Loire Valley in France, Selles sur Cher, is artisanally produced and was one of the first cheeses to receive AOC status.
Although, according to the AOC regulations, cheeses must be made only in certain regions of Cher, Indre and Loir-et-Cher, production can be either fermier, cooperative or industrial.
Some Selles sur Cher are made from raw milk (not currently found in the United States) and others will not have the ash coating. Cheeses are available year round, but are best in the spring and autumn.
Selles sur Cher is a small disc usually covered with a thin coating of black ash over the bloomy rind, giving it a blue-grey appearance.
The interior paste is snowy-white and the flavors are bright and citrus-like when young, with a hint of minerals, grass and hay. Flavors intensify with age, becoming more animal-like, with aromas of cellar and earth. The paste becomes firmer and has a whiteness which turns to light, white-gold under the rind. After about four weeks the rind becomes firm and dry.
Try with Loire Whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and lighter-style Cabernet Franc.
Few things are as lovely as a young goat cheese from the Loire Valley. It is versatile and light, like a new spring coat, and when paired with preserves and a glass of wine, it becomes ethereal, musical
You could say that Selles-sur-Cher is the Catherine Deneuve of goat cheeses, achingly fresh and flawless. It’s the sort of cheese you can’t possibly tire of, and it’s as sparkly for supper, crumbled over salad, as it is for breakfast, slathered on toast with jam.
When you go to the farmers’ market to buy your first spring greens, make sure you pick up a round of Selles-sur-Cher on the way home. Its bright, citrusy taste and damp, clayey texture pairs well with anything demi, from baby carrots to new spinach, along with spring ramps, radishes, and fiddleheads.
In appearance, Selles-sur-Cher looks a bit like potting soil, but don’t let the black exterior scare you. That’s simply a coating of vegetable ash, a trademark of Loire Valley goat cheeses. The ash is virtually tasteless; it creates a colorful contrast and serves to neutralize some of the tang.
One nice thing about Loire Valley goat cheeses is that they are always delicate – never “goaty.” This can be attributed to several things, including the lush grasses of the region, which imbue the milk with notes of wildflower and hay. Tt’s the perfect cheese for spring –tender, creamy, and just right for layering under last summer’s homemade jam.