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Of goats and cheese, and all things ordinary | StarTribune.com

A couple from here in the Twin Cities, Steve and Mary Jo Hoffman of St. Paul for three months are living in a small village in the Languedoc region of southern France. Steve’s writing for the Strib- today, on a goat farm and about their cheese:

Photo: Mary Jo Hoffman, Special to the Star Tribune

The resident goats at Mas Rolland spend at least 250 days a year browsing the spiky offerings of their corner of the local garrigue — one of the requirements that allows their cheese to be called Pélardon, an Appelation Controlée, unique to this part of the Languedoc.

The goats must live within the boundaries of the appellation, and must forage primarily in the wild, so that the flavors of the region find their way into the milk — raw milk only, please.

At her counter, with the rhythmic chunk-chunking of the milking machines behind her, Laurence Testa will tell you all of this and more. Dark-haired, compact and wiry, she looks as if she could scamper off into the hills herself and live on sparse vegetation and sunshine.

Today, in rapid French, she is on the subject of cheese competitions, while I strain simultaneously to follow what she is saying and concentrate on the creamy pucks of cheese she brings up from behind the counter.

“Yes,” she agrees with herself, “the only cheeses that win competitions are from goats that forage en pleine air.”

Read all of Steve and Mary Jo’s story:  Of goats and cheese, and all things ordinary | StarTribune.com.

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