The Cuisine of Alpes Haute-Provence

Production region - Alpes de Haute-Provence

Suggestion of the wine waiter
Enjoy with a regional wine such as a white Cassis for an authentically Provençal pairing

Production region: Alps of Upper Provence

Originating in the Alpine region of Upper Provence, this cheese, with its scents of the garrigue and flavors of thyme, rosemary, hyssop and artemisia, has a long gastronomic history dating back to the 11th century.

In Mediterranean countries, the production methods produce a mild goat cheese. Milk is relatively scarce, but what there is is rich and flavorful. The cheese is instantly recognizable on the seller’s stall: carefully wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied with a piece of raffia like a gift for a gourmet. It’s a fall cheese. When fresh, it’s sold plain, or flavored with spices or savory and given the colorful name Banon au poivre d’âne, or “Banon with donkey pepper” (a local name for savory).

The milk has to be processed immediately after milking, whether morning or evening, in order to produce curds quickly, resulting in a mild curd obtained in 45 minutes by holding the milk at 33° C. It is then stirred and placed into molds with large holes. At the end of its first day, it is placed for about 10 days in a drying room called a “haloir” for its initial ripening. It can stay there for up to a month, depending on the production process.

At this point, the producer can sell the Banon as is, though he always keeps some of it to wrap in three fresh coppery chestnut leaves.

Goat’s milk cheese

Creamy center that is eaten with a spoon

Almost dry; straw color, flecked with white

Cylindrical mold covered with chestnut leaves tied with a strand of raffia

Mild, not sharp like some northern goat cheeses

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