Stuff

Mauleon-Licharre, Soule, French Basque Countries, April 2019

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Fromagerie Écologique Agour Irati

The fromagerie is located high in the Irati valley so in a magnificently isolated bend in the road.

In April 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the Fromagerie Ecologique Agour Irati located high up foothills of the Basque Pyrenees. A quick word about Agour (I also noticed it spelled Agur, which I believe is in Euskera, the Basque language? You Euskera speakers, correct me if I am wrong). If you are a fan of French cheeses, and especially of Basque sheep milk cheeses, you have likely heard of Agour. They are the largest family run independent cheese maker in the French Basque countries and have been exporting to the U.S. for over 20 years. We have featured their lovely cheeses on the cheeses boards at Le Pichet and Cafe Presse for as long as they have been open.

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Dinner on the patio

Mackerel filets from Saint Jean de Luz, sauteed and served with bay leaf roasted new potatoes, fava beans, spring onions and lamb jus.

Here are some photos of the preparation:

These early season favas are so tender, there is no need to peel them. The use of lamb jus was dictated by what was in the fridge and also happened to sound good.
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Les Chèvres de Brassenx

Bûche de chèvre and cabécou from les Chèvres de Brassenx

There’s a new fromagerie in Orthez (officially in Argagnon but that is only about 4 minutes from Orthez). This is big news because 1) well things can move pretty slow in Orthez and it is therefore not that often that we arrive to find something totally new and unexpected has opened up and 2) goat cheese is not really the cheese of choice in SW France. With all due respect to Rocamadour and Cabécous from the Midi-Pyrenees, this is the Atlantic end and in the Béarn and Basque countries, the its all about sheep milk tomes, with Ossau Iraty being the reigning king.

The farm Les Chevres de Brassenx is a modest operation, with only about 60 animals and sales only at 3 local farmer’s markets and direct at the farm 3 days a week. When we stopped by, cheese making had just restarted after the winter period when the goat’s stop producing milk, which means limited supply and mostly young cheeses available. But for all that, the cheeses are beautifully made and redolent of fresh, raw milk…no surprise given that the owners (career changers like myself) learned their new craft working in the Poitou-Charente, the most prolific region in France for goat’s milk cheeses.

The selection of cheeses from Les Chevres de Brassenx include buches, crottins, cabicous, fromage blanc, faisselles and a number for cheeses seasoned with herbs and spices

The other benefit of a spring visit is that the farm is literally awash in baby goats! Not to mention a border collie very insistent on playing fetch, 2 barn cats who seem a bit starved for attention and Monsieur the cheese maker who was more that happy to stop what he was doing to explain the functioning of the farm and cheese making laboratoire (and to introduce the animals).

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Market bounty, Orthez April 2019

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Lunch in Orthez

After many hours of travel, finally the arrival in Orthez. For a simple lunch, crevette rose from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and freshly made mayonnaise. Deep sign!

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Brandade nîmoise back on the menu at Le Pichet

Brandade nîmoise is back on the menu, starting at 5:30pm this evening. This traditional favorite from the south of France is made with salt cod, cream and olive oil, seasoned with garlic, thyme, lemon and nutmeg. We also add a bit of potato, a variation found in the city of Nîmes.

Try it with a glass of of rosé from Corsica like our Clos Fornelli “La robe d.Ange” (or why not a bottle!)

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Get ready for Women’s World Cup Soccer

The Woman’s World Cup kicks off on June 7th
and its gonna be epic!

Whether you follow current cup-holders USA in their quest for back-to-back World Cup titles…Or root for host team France as they try to become the first country ever to be both Men’s and Women’s World Cup Champions at the same time…Or if you have your own favorite side…Café Presse will show every match.

Plus we will showevery USA and every France match live. Check out our website for details and full match calendar.

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New desserts for Spring at Café Presse

Basboussa – North African-style coconut-semolina cake served warm with macerated strawberries and candied pistachios

Cafe Presse also has spring desserts! Check out these great new inspirations from pastry chef Allyson Lanter. And of course we still have our traditional French sundae La Dame Blanche, as well as chocolat chaud, house made caramels, ice creams and sorbets.

Gateau de riz, caramelized rice cake served with heavy cream and rhubarb-vanilla compote
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Check out Café Presse’s Spring menu

Smoked wild caught Gulf prawns, on a spring salad of snap peas, cucumber, zucchini, radish, mint leaves, canidied lemon peel and shellfish-lemon vinaigrette

Here at Cafe Presse, we are feeling very proud of our new Spring menu 2019 which started last Thursday, 4/4. Chef de cuisine James O’Hern has designed menu full of dishes that feature first of the season veggies and lighter preparations that satisfy that spring longing to shake off winter. Enjoy!

Salad of escarole, celery, roasted beets and bleu cheese vinaigrette, topped with a crispy buttermilk-fried half quail
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