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French Cheese: Valencay

Updated on October 28, 2015

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Valençay Cheese

Valençay cheese is a cheese made in the Berry, Central France. It takes its name after the town of Valencay in the Indre.

Valençay cheese is one of my favourite French cheeses. It is an unpasteurized goat’s milk cheese.

Valencay Cheese

Valencay Cheese famous for  its truncated pyramidal shape.   The Valencay is made by allowing the curd to drain in a mold, it is then removed and covered with salted charcoal ash and allowed to ripen for about 4 to 5 weeks in a well ventilated cellar
Valencay Cheese famous for its truncated pyramidal shape. The Valencay is made by allowing the curd to drain in a mold, it is then removed and covered with salted charcoal ash and allowed to ripen for about 4 to 5 weeks in a well ventilated cellar | Source

The Town Of Valençay

Valencay is a small village in the Centre of France. Famous for its beautiful Castle, the Chateau de Valencay. The town is also famous all over France because it was the first town to hold two AOC "Controlled designation of Origin" products, Valencay cheese and Valencay wine. The AOC is a French certification granted mainly for wine and cheese to protect a cultural and gastronomic heritage.

Valencay Cheese

The first thing that attracted me to this cheese was its peculiar shape. The Valencay comes in the form of a truncated 7cm tall pyramid and it usually weighs around 200gr. Its colour varies according to its age with natural mould forming a soft grey rind which is darkened for better conservation with a dusting of charcoal.

French goat's cheese Valençay Protected Designation of Origin

French goat's cheese Valençay. "Appellation d'origine protégée" = PDO : Protected Designation of Origin (european label).
French goat's cheese Valençay. "Appellation d'origine protégée" = PDO : Protected Designation of Origin (european label). | Source

How Does It Taste?

One of the things I like about Valencay cheese is that its taste varies largely according to its age. When young, the Valencay has a fresh citric flavour, the more it ages, the nuttier flavoured it becomes.

It is necessary 2 Litres of unpasteurized goat's milk to make one Valençay "pyramid" of 220gr.

Valencay Cheese

Valencay Cheese
Valencay Cheese | Source

When Is It Better To Consume?

Valencay cheese is available between March and December, with peak manufacture between April and August when the goats are able to pasture and don’t need to be guarded in stables.

I always know that lambing time has arrived when my local goat’s milk cheese seller disappears from the market stalls. Why? Because, as he explained it to me once, during the months of January and February, sheep are busy having their babies and all their milk is destined to feed their young, therefore not leaving any for producing cheese.

French Goat Cheese Valencay

French Goat Cheese Valencay w/Ash case of 6, 8.8 oz. each
French Goat Cheese Valencay w/Ash case of 6, 8.8 oz. each

Valencay with Ash - fresh goat's milk cheese - 8.8 oz/250 gr, France. The cheese's form, a four-sided, truncated pyramid from Berrichon goat's milk.


What Does It Mean To Have A Protected Designation of Origin Label

An AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controllée) or Protected Designation of Origin, means that a product has been made in a certain geographical area following a traditional method. The taste also plays an important part and only those products passing a "taste contest" are allowed to have an AOC label.

To have a ProtectedDesignation of Origin label means that Valençay cheese goes through a strict quality process. Every two months the cheeses with this label have to pass in front of a jury that verifies the taste, texture, forme and other quality standards. Once the test is passed the cheese can "wear" a red label (if it has been made industrially) or green label if it has been made traditionally at a farm.

During the quality tests, the jury examines two pieces of cheese from each producer. One is examined for its taste and different qualities while the other is analysed at a laboratory. The global mark should be more than 10 over 20. Otherwise, the product cannot use the Valençay label.

Valencay Cheese Nutritional Value for 100 g

  • Calcium: 657 à 865 g
  • Calories: 326 à 384
  • Glucides: 0
  • Lipides: 24-29 g
  • Fat: around 45%
  • Proteins: 22-27 g

Pairing Cheese and Wine

As with any food issues in France, every household and even every person has their own opinions about which wine should accompany which food to enhance its flavour.

For Valencay cheese, I would say that it is best consumed with a regional wine like a white Valencay. The white wine made in Valencay is fresh and brings out the citric flavour characteristic of this goat’s cheese when it is young.

How To Eat Valençay Cheese

For me, the best way to eat Valençay cheese is on its own, at the end of a meal in a cheese plate accompanied with some nuts and a glass of woody white wine.

Valencay cheese can also be eaten as a starter with a salad.

Valençay Cheese and Wine

Valencay Cheese and Wine
Valencay Cheese and Wine

Curiosities About Valençay Cheese

In 1998, Valencay cheese achieved its AOC status which made of Valencay the first French region to achieve AOC status for two products: its wine and its cheese.

The Legend Of Valençay Cheese

If you are wondering about the funny shape of the Valencay cheese, let me tell you the legend behind it. One day after Napoleon stopped to visit the Chateau de Valencay and its owner Prince Talleyrand, he was offered a taste of this local cheese. Unfortunately having just come back from a disastrous campaign in Egypt, the pyramidal local cheese brought unpleasant memories to the almighty Napoleon. To please his guest, Prince Talleyrand himself using his sword cut the top off the pyramid. Since that day, the Valencay cheese has remained with the shape of an unfinished pyramid.

Valençay Cheese and Wine

Valencay Cheese In Numbers

  • The annual production is recorded at around 350 tonnes.
  • Currently, there are 21 farms producing Valencay cheese in the region.
  • The protected territory for Valencay cheese expands in 4 agricultural regions: le Boischaut Nord, la Champagne Berrichonne, la Brenne et le Boischaut Sud, making a total of 700.000 hectares.
  • It is necessary 2 Litres of unpasteurized goat's milk to make one "Valençay pyramide" of 220gr.

French Cheeses: The Visual Guide to More Than 350 Cheeses from Every Region of France

Farms Where You Can Buy Valençay Cheese

Fromagerie Mouré (AOP):
2 Allée de l’Ormeau La Tiercerie 36600 FONTGUENAND

get directions

Roger et Liliane FONTENAS:
La Pinoterie, 36600 Langé, France

get directions

Fromagerie P. JACQUIN et fils (AOP):
9 Route de Meusnes, 36600 La Vernelle, France

get directions

6 Rue des Acacias Launay, 36600 La Vernelle, France

get directions

GAEC des Ramono (AOP):
Jumeaux, 36600 Valençay, France

get directions

Ferme de Mosnay (AOP):
Mosnay, 36600 Vicq-sur-Nahon, France

get directions

If You Don't Live In France You Can Always Buy Valencay Cheese Online

Valençay Cheese

Valençay Goat's cheese
Valençay Goat's cheese | Source

French Cheeses

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