The Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO is a cheese produced with milk from goats of Alpine, Saanen and Poitevine breeds coming from the valley of Brenne, in the region of Centre.
The production method includes curdling of milk obtained with the addition of a small amount of kid rennet and prolonged for at least 18 hours. It is a slow coagulation which enables to obtain a regular and firm curd. Then, the curd is put into the cheese moulds by hand. The spontaneous dripping phase lasts minimum 24 hours. The cheeses, after having been removed from moulds, are salted on both sides and dried for about three days before being put into the drier for ripening which must last minimum seven days.
Appearance and Flavour
Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO has the shape of a truncated pyramid with a height of 12.5 cm, whose top is a small square which is 2.5 cm wide. It weighs about 250 gr. The flavour changes depending on the type of ripening used: white ripening (made with the addition of Géotricum mould) makes the cheese paste fondant and gives it an acidulous taste, slightly salted with a fine aroma of dry fruits; blue ripening (made with addition of Penicillium album moulds) gives a stronger and more mature flavour, with a slight aftertaste of hazelnut and makes the paste firmer.
The production area of Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO covers 22 municipal areas in the western part of the department of Indre, between Touraine and Berry, in the region Centre.
The origins of Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO go back to the 18th century. Wood and straw cheese moulds were used to give it its characteristic shape. The tradition tells us that the inhabitants of Pouligny-Saint-Pierre took inspiration from the shape of churches' bell towers for the famous pyramidal shape of the cheese which was called also pyramid or Tour Eiffel.
Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO must be conserved in the least cold compartment of the refrigerator wrapped in its original package or in a sealed box. Before eating it, it is suggested to leave it rest at room temperature for about half an hour. It is tasted cold, generally at the end of a meal, but it is also used to prepare warm dishes. Its light flavour can be tasted in different ways. It can be used to prepare warm sandwiches or cut in cubes to enrich salad dishes, also seasoned with walnut oil. It is ideal with dry and fruity white wines or with wines from Cher and Loire like Rieuilly, Quincy, Menetou-Salon, Sancerre or Sauvignon of Touraine du Berry.
The product is sold as Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO with white ripening and Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO with blue ripening. It is marketed whole.
The producers of Pouligny-Saint-Pierre PDO are closely linked to the tradition. Indeed, they respect the identity and history of this cheese and, over the times, they have always maintained the traditional production methods and created the right balance between handcraft methods and industrial production.