Very Special Dairy Sheep

Today was a food and sheep experience – putting the two together in a lovely way! We got the opportunity to visit the famous Roquefort cheese making caves. This process is very carefully controlled and this cheese comes only from here from the milk of these sheep. It is all controlled by Societe, which began in1863 and has seven producers.

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They make 4 million “pains” (this could be your French word for the day!) -bread shaped pieces of cheese per year with its special flavor being created by the injection of penicillium. The cheese, after being made in 8 days is ripened in these caves and then “put to sleep” in real tin foil to finish the process before it is shipped out.

The caves were amazing!

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After a brief cheese tasting and a chance to buy some more postcards, we were on our way to see these special Lacaune sheep from whom they get the milk for this cheese.

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This Lacaune sheep farm in Ste Eulalie de Cernon has 320 ewes for milking and 85 ewe lambs.

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They are a pedigree flock with a 190% breeding rate (meaning they average almost 2 lambs per ewe) and the lambs are weaned at one month of age. We found them to be curious and friendly, although we thought a little annoyed at us because they kept them penned in for the first part of our visit.

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The sheep are fed on a special hay from an approved factory pasture. Some of our Australian friends took the opportunity to check it out.

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Well, the sheep finally got their wish and got let out. With the dogs in charge…

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…the sheep came out of the barn, across the yard, down a small hill, and into the pasture beyond (with only one thinking maybe she wanted to go the other way!)

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We left these very friendly sheep to have yet another fantastic lunch with bread…

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Wine…

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…and many other wonderful things.

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After being shown by Pierre where we are (this trip has been a crash course in French geography, among other things!)…

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…we leave this area with fond memories of a special cheese and the sheep without whom it would not be possible.

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Published in: on May 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Will Dona be giving any wine input? Maybe a WWW or Yolo win end cheese tasting meeting.

    • Watch for an upcoming “guest” blog post from Dona – in the works!

  2. I am really enjoying following along with you on your trip. Thanks for the wonderful picture and posts. So where are we all going for the next conference in 5 years?

    • Italy! It was decided at the end of the Congress. We are to meet some of these people from the Biella Wool Center today. They put in a bid to host and got the nod from the membership (Dona and I actually got to vote!) good to hear from you Mary. Lots to catch up on when we get back!


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