Brousse du Var is a fresh cheese made from sheep’s milk.
In fact, it is so fresh, that the cheese is sold on the same day it is made. The cheese has a best-before range of 6 to 7 days after this.
It is usually made for 1 to 1 ½ months after Easter. The area of production is the French Varois coast, especially near Toulon (between Marseille and Saint-Tropez on the south coast of France.)
The milk used is from the Mérinos and Commune breeds of sheep.
There are two methods of making the cheese, traditional, and modern.
Making Brousse du var: traditional method
The milk is heated in a water bath to 90 C (194 F). The temperature is then reduced to 40 C (104 F), and 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) of rennet per 10 litres (2.6 US gallons) of milk is added. The milk is let curdle for half an hour, then the curd is put into aluminum moulds with small holes in them to drain. The filled moulds are refrigerated at a temperature between 0 and 4 C (32 and 39 F). At the time of sale, the cheese would be unmoulded directly into a container that the customer had brought with them.
Making Brousse du var: modern method
The milk is heated to 81 C (177 F) and held there for 20 minutes. The temperature is then lowered to 37 to 38 C (98 to 100 F) and 133 ml (4 ½ oz) of rennet per 100 litres of milk (26 ½ US gallons) is added. The milk is allowed to curdle for 10 to 15 minutes, then the curd is put into tall narrow plastic disposable cylinder-shaped containers for sale.
A Brousse is a term for soft cheese made in Provence, France, made from sheep or goat’s milk. It may be so soft as to be like a cream cheese, or have more texture to it, like a ricotta. The term “brousse” comes the French words “brousse” / “brousser”, which have several meanings to them. Some feel that the meaning that applies to the cheese is the meaning of “beaten” — but then not all brousse cheeses have their curd beaten. Others feel that the meaning that applies is that of “woods, bush, back-woods” alluding to the sheep or goats wandering about in off the beaten track, hard-scrabble patches of land.
La Brousse du Var: Historique et Technique. Accessed January 2022 at http://www.brebislait.com/produits/les-fromages-au-lait-entier/la-brousse-du-var/