cheese flavoured with pepper and the local pink garlic.
Gaperon is a small cheese flavoured with
pepper and garlic. It has a white fluffy coat and is shaped into a dome
which looks like a tiny igloo. Originating in the region of the pink garlic
of the Limagne plain, in the Haute Auvegrne, Gaperon has been made and
enjoyed for centuries.
Milk which is left over in the churn after
butter-making is mixed with fresh milk to make the cheese curds. The curds
are then mixed with the local pink garlic and pepper. Since buttermilk
is used, the resulting cheese is slightly lower in fat, generally 35%.
The origin of the name 'Gaperon' is taken from the local French dialect
for buttermilk which is 'gap' or 'gape'.
Over the centuries Gaperons were hung
in the farmhouse kitchen or the storeroom. The number of cheeses gave
an indication as to the farmer's wealth and as such would have an influence
on the marriage of his daughters. Cheeses were sometimes tied with yellow
ribbons and offered as wedding gifts or harvest symbols, a decoration
still in use today. Stored in the farmhouse the white coat would acquire
a mottled colour of grey and blue as the spores in the air found their
way onto the surface of the cheese.
Our Gaperon is made using the same ancient
methods and the cheese will taste very similar to the ones enjoyed by
the ploughmen and dairymaids of the 14th Century. They are no longer matured
in the farmhouse kitchen but on rye straw in a damp cellar for one to
two months. Each cheese measures 75mm in diameter, 75mm in height and
weighs approximately 300 grammes. Gaperon is available all year round
with no particular best season, principally because of the pepper and
garlic flavouring. Gaperon is best enjoyed with a full-bodied red such
as a Côtes du Rhone.