Milk: Raw goat's milk
Animal breed: Alpine and Saanen
Size of cheese: 6cm
Location: Haute Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees
Season: March to November
Scale: Farmhouse (90 goats)
Petit Blaja is an unusual lactic goats cheese recipe made in the Haute-Garonne department of the Midi- Pyrénées. Three different batches of curd that have been drained and matured over several days are folded together like a cake mix. This method produces a cheese of standout acidity, giving an extraordinary structure and length to its flavour. Unlike most lactic goats cheeses, Petit Blaja can be matured for three months or more, with the rinds changing from a pastel yellow colour, through orangey reds and browns to almost black. Each stage of maturation merits tasting, and each will have its fans. We like to sell them when they are fluffy, tart and citric in their centre, with a buttery, creamy breakdown around their edges and a sticky yellow-orange rind containing the first hints of animal notes.