A CHEESE OR BROCCIU PRODUCED IN A FARM IS A UNIQUE AND NATURAL PRODUCT
Unique because a farmhouse cheese is made by a farmer who processes milk exclusively from his own herd, on his own farm. Some farmers raise goats, other ewes and some of them own both animals. Today, as in the past, shepherds mainly raise local breeds: Corsican goats and ewes, animals that contribute to milk production, rustic and adapted to the arduous insular conditions, often called “shepherd island”.
Natural because herds are fed exclusively on vast natural spaces. After a short passage in the sheepfold to be milked, goats and ewes spend the majority of their time on the grasslands where the variety of species provides a specific quality to our raw milk.
The strong link to natural resources and the family size of our farms requires seasonal and small scale production. These characteristics are often perceived like constraints by our suppliers. However, it represents a sign of quality! As volumes increase, we prefer the monitoring of our matter: the quality of our raw milk dictates the one of our farm cheeses.
THE PRODUCTION CYCLE LINKED TO NATURAL RESOURCES
The birthing process begins in September for ewes in the plains and ends in December for goats in the low mountain region. Traditionally, lambs and goats are raised on mother’s milk, then slaughtered between 35 and 45 days: lamb and goats are part of the island’s culinary heritage. During the suckling period, the farmer starts cheese production with the surplus milk from the mothers. At this time, the quantity of cheese available does not yet reach its maximum. Production really starts at the beginning of January, when youngsters are weaned. A second birthing period 3 months later further increases the number of milking animals. Après environ 7 mois de production, les laitières, qui débutent la gestation des futurs jeunes, sont taries.
In some micro-regions natural resources are available only during the summer, such as in Casinca, Castagniccia and the mountain pastures. Thus, even though this is rare, births take place mainly in February, which allow cheese production to spread out between April and the end of October.
A VARIED RANGE OF TRADITIONAL CHEESES
You can find a variety of Corsican traditional cheeses. Our cheeses provide whey right after draining, suitable for the production of the famous Brocciu AOC. Then, the cheeses are available according to the expertise of each shepherd-cheesemaker: “constant attention combined with age-old experience guide and domesticate a special raw material: raw milk*”. It is a question of taking advantage of the characteristics of raw milk (natural flora and nutritional properties) combined with the particularity of each cheese diary ensuring unique and high-quality products.
The know-how of each farmer is passed on in various ways: from family, friends or by home origin. We introduce you five traditional Corsican cheeses:
Le Sartinese is produced in Sartène, in the department of Corse-du-Sud. Is obtained from an uncooked pressed dough and is left to age for 45 days.
Le Bastelicacciu, originates from Bastelica, located in the department of Southern Corsica. Unlike other cheeses has as soft texture with a flowered rind. Maturing lasts 20 to 30 days.
Le Venachese is a cheese named after the place of production, a town in the center of the island. Underneath its washed rind, there is a soft texture of the body. It usually ages for 45 days.
Le Niolincu is produced in Niolu, in the department of Haute-Corse. After ripening for 90 days, it develops a soft texture with a very strong flavour on its scrapped rind.
Le Calinzana is produced in Calenzana, Balagne. The rind is washed and the texture is soft. This cheese is left to age for 12 months. Such as the Niolincu, it has a very strong flavour.
Fresh cheese can be enjoyed as such or cooked. Likewise, Brocciu may be consumed immediately. When ripened, it is called Brocciu Passu. When salted, it is called Brocciu Salitu. Beyond these traditional products, you can enjoy other products such as tommes or so-called “lactiques” products such as” caillés lactiques”, crottins etc.
Feel free to ask the farmers, they will be pleased to show you their products!
Taste great varieties of Corsican cheeses by joining us as “A fiera di u Casgiu”, the biggest event gathering local farm cheese makers which takes place every year in Venacu. This year, we will be pleased to welcome you on April 30 and May 1st 2022.
Here you can download the information booklet about the production of farm cheeses.