Enjoying cheese is not just about taste and texture, flavour wheels and all that good stuff, it’s also about the memory of buying the cheese – the people and the place. On holiday in France and travelling to the Haute-Loire region of the Auvergne with its most beautiful ancient hill-top villages, rivers and meadows filled with springtime wild flowers and all set amongst extinct volcanoes I got off the train at the seemingly unprepossessing mining town of Brassac-les-Mines.

I underestimated Brassac-les-Mines, it’s a gutsy place with its own character …but this is a cheese blog.   Fromagerie de la Tour is not far from the railway station, it’s a modest shop selling a wide selection of cheeses and local organic foodstuffs.   I went there twice and on both occasions there was a good humoured queue inside the shop waiting to be served by Mdm Aline Cissac, the proprietor and a friendly person.   I asked about local cheeses and chose a small fromage de chèvre sec (which I understand to be a goat’s milk cheese which has been aged for some 3 or 4 weeks): not surprisingly it had a more intense flavour and was firmer than most British goat cheeses.

I liked it very much and I went back to buy more when I caught the train out of Brassac-les-Mines on the way home.   Happy memories of both the cheese and of the place.

Fromagerie de la Tour
25 Pl. de la Liberté, Brassac-les-Mines, France