Picodon is a cheese made from whole goat’s milk. It has a firm rind covered in mould that can be blue, white or yellow, depending on the aging process. The cheese inside is firm, with a pungent, goaty smell. The taste of the cheese is both slightly sour and slightly sweet. Cheeses aged over 12 days will have a more pronounced goaty taste.
The cheesemakers don’t actually keep the goats themselves; they buy the goat’s milk from others who herd goats in the Ardèche and Drôme regions of France.
Whey from a previous batch of the cheese is used as the starter culture. The milk is allowed to coagulate, then the curd is gathered and pressed into small round moulds that yield cheeses weighing only about 50 g (2 oz.). The cheeses are 1.8 to 2.5 cm tall (¾ to 1 inch).
There are two types of aging processes for the cheese, resulting in very different products. The first is the termed the “classic” method. Comment reconnaître le Picodon? Accessed April 2022 at https://www.picodon-aop.fr/fromage-reconnaitre-picodon-aop/ The cheese is typically ripened for between 8 and 30 days, and is sold at different stages of aging. The crust will be white or blue.
The second method is called the “lavé” method. For this, cheeses will be aged for more than 30 days, and receive intermittent washings in either clear water or wine. Un petit fromage de chèvre. Accessed April 2022 at https://www.picodon-aop.fr/fromage-picodon-aop/ The crust will be white or yellow.
There is a syndicate to protect and promote the cheese. It is responsible for inspecting the cheeses made by its members. The headquarters are in Valence in southeast France.
Members include those producing the milk, those making the cheese and aging it themselves, those making the cheese but delivering it to someone else for aging, and the agers. The syndicate is financed by members’ dues and royalties from the cheeses sold.
Minimum 45% fat
Picodon achieved its French AOC status in 1983.
Literature & Lore
Picodon is an old French name (actually, a langue d’oc name), related to the French word “piquer”, meaning sharp.