From: The region of Tarn et Garonne, north of of Toulouse in southwest France.
Made By: Le Ferme du Ramier.
Milk: Raw cow’s milk
Curdling type: rennet
Size/ weigh: Flat disc about 18″ in diameter and 3″ tall. It weighs in at about 12#
Rind: Washed rind.
Interior: semi-firm pate, gently ivory in color and tender.
Aged: 60 to 90 day
Historical notes: Le Ferme du Ramier is a run by several generations of the family family Maravel in the town of Montauban in the southwest of France. This is a regions that encompasses the gentle plains of the Languedoc and the rugged valleys that join it to the Massif Central, France’s high central plateau. Accordingly it is a region where cheese is made from the milk of cows, who favor that flatter lands and goats and sheep, who thrive in harsher, steeply sloped terrain.
The master cheese maker is Helene Depierre, daughter of the current owners. Le Ferme du Ramier produces only “fermier” cheeses, meaning that the cheeses are all made on the farm exclusively from the milk of the farm’s own herd. Interesting side note, their website states that the cows are raised in toute liberté: unlike most farms who milk their animals twice a day, Le Ferme du Ramier keeps its milking room open 24 hours a day…the cows decide themselves when they want to be milked!
The cheeses are aged about 60 days at the farm, so arrive on our tables here between 70 and 90 days old. During aging on the farm, the cheeses are washed with a mixture of saltwater brine and cheese residues from previous batches, which is referred to as a morge. This mixture gives the aged cheese its reddish brown appearance – the name roux refers to this color – resulting a what is called a croute morgée.
Tasting Notes: The rind of the Ramier roux, although moist when young, is dry and pungent at 4 months of age. Probably to strong and tough for any but the hardiest rind eaters. by contrast, the paste is mild and milky with flavors of the herbs of the Tarn gorges, of licorice and of fennel. Maybe an aftertaste of hazelnuts and caramel. The stronger exterior adds an earthy note that it still mild and balanced.
Wine to go with: A well structured but not overly forward red wine would be a perfect match. I recommend the Domaine Jean-Louis Denois “Les Garrigues” Vin de France Rouge. This wine harks from the Languedoc near the town of Roquetaillade, only an hour or so by car from le Ferme du Ramier. A blend of syrah, grenache, merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon, this wine comes across more as a small chateau Bordeaux than a big Languedoc, meaning more finesse and structure, less power. It was while drinking this wine that the herb and anise flavors of the cheese were most notable. On the wine list at Café Presse now.
Where to find it now: Café Presse