In Poitou: The chabichou and goat’s cheese trail
Poitou is the land of goat’s cheese. The best-known is Chabichou, which has Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. But you also have to try Mothais sur feuille, a cheese matured on chestnut or plane tree leaves, Bûche du Poitou, Clochette, Couhé-verac, Jonchée Niortaise, and Chèvre Boîte…
The goat’s cheese trail will take you into dairies and the homes of the producers, as well as to local markets where you will find all the main local produce. Waymarkers show you the way to go.
In the pretty little town of Celles-sur-Belle, in the south of Deux-Sèvres, you can’t afford to miss the Maison des Fromages de Chèvres, a unique museum where you can learn all about the region’s goat-farming. There’s also a gift-shop and activity workshops.
In the Pyrenees: The Ossau-Iraty cheese trail
Ossau-Iraty has been an AOP cheese since 1980, and it is made in the Pyrénées Atlantiques, Béarn and the French Basque Country.
Along the trail you will encounter the changing landscapes of the different places where the cheese is made: hills, valleys, the Atlantic coast, peaks and mountains.
Follow the signposts to meet the producers who will share their passion for their work, either on their farms or in the cayolars (shepherds’ huts).
A handy mobile phone navigation system is in place to help you along your way. And while you’re there, be sure not to miss the other local specialities: wine from Irouléguy and Madiran, Jurançon, ham, and gateau basque.