Milk: Raw goat's milk cheese
Animal breed: Rove
Size of cheese: 6cm
Location: Simiane-la-Rotonde, Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur
Season: March to October
Scale: Farmhouse (100 goats)
Mistralou is a seasonal goat's milk cheese made by Francois and Vanessa Masto on their farm in Simiane-la Rotande, Haute Provence. The Mastos have a small herd of around 70 Rove goats, producing milk from February to September. Roves are an ancient local breed distinguished by their magnificent horns twisted into the shape of a lyre. Once bred primarily for meat, Roves risked extinction as the popularity of goat meat declined. However they now populate the region in healthy numbers, having been rediscovered as a milking animal. And what milk! It is particularly thick, creamy and sweet, and is the star of the Mistralou recipe.
Mistralou is a lactic set cheese with a feather-soft texture. The recipe is intentionally light on salt, letting the perfumed, honey flavours of the Rove milk shine through. Each cheese is wrapped up in a Sweet Chestnut leaf, giving a tiny edge of tannin and earthiness to the otherwise floral milk flavours.