Tag Archives: La Gabarre

Row, row, row your La Gabarre gently down the Loire…

12 Jul
How cute is this?

How cute is this? There’s goats in the boat!

Isn’t it so much better when something has novelty value? Personally I’m a sucker for a dinky back story and this thick and creamy goats cheese from the Loire Valley is no exception.

My flatmate and I went to La Cave a Fromage in South Kensington (it’s basically our new favourite hang out) with one mission- to get a new cheese to replace our depleted Comte. We wanted it to be strong but subtle, more of a swimmer than a bodybuilder, a real contender for our tastebuds but sensitive to our fridge’s delicate olfactory balance (i.e. we didn’t want our vegetables smelling like cheese).

We were met by cheese man extroadinaire David from Portugal who patiently answered our questions, let us try whichever cheese we pointed to and then acted interested when I told him I was out on a very important cheese blogging mission.

Your friendly local cheese team- Kat and David!

Your friendly local cheese team- Kat and David!

After watching us mooch about the shop for circa 8 minutes contemplating which cheese was best to bring home to our needy fridge and experiencing first hand Comte’s awkward phase with a disappointing tasting (kind of like being told on parents evening that Comte wasn’t really working hard enough) David decided to take matters into his own hands and leading us away from the creamy goats cheeses took us to the front of the shop where he confronted us with La Gabarre– a dense goats cheese shaped like a dodgy brick.

He then proceeded to tell us why the cheese was shaped like it was. Back in ye olden days wine was transported throughout the Loire Valley on flat bottomed wooden boats called Gabarre. My novelty-loving side was already doing an excited dance– this cheese was not just a cheese but a cultural homage! When I found out that goats were also transported on these boats to graze on the Loire’s islands I was sold- a goats cheese inspired from a boat to transport a goat– it was lyrical and poetic and to be honest I was going to buy it regardless of what it tasted like (yes, I am a salespersons dream).

Is it a boat? Is it a cheese?

Is it a boat? Is it a cheese?

Luckily the cheese was more than just a historical back story and actually tasted delicious. Thick and dense, biting into this was kind of like drowning your mouth in a vat of goats butter. If it wasn’t a cheese it could probably have had a career being glue. It certainly sticks to the roof of your mouth.

The cheese had a slight vinegary, tangy flavour. Kind of like the sour candy of the cheese world. However, there was also a sweet element to it so the tanginess was not overbearing. It’s a bit of a mysterious flavour and I recommend trying it for yourself as whilst trying to decide what it most tasted like I ended up eating the whole thing in one sitting. This cheese is a sneaky one- not only was I duped by its back story, but also by its enigmatic taste. 

Much like an onion, or a tiered cake, or Shrek this cheese also had layers. There was the mouldy grainy exterior, a creamy yellow-ish outer layer followed by the dense butter like interior.

mmmm dense

mmmm dense

Ironically, La Gabarre’s density would sink the ship-shaped cheese so be warned not to play boats on the river with it.

So a quick Youtube search later I actually found a song about a goat on a boat with a stoat!

It is actually very surprising how much Youtube churns up when you search ‘goat in a boat’!

P.S. After reading a blog about Belgian beer I found out that La Gabarre goes best with a nice strong bitter. Big up the beer and cheese combos! http://belgium.beertourism.com/blog/cheese-and-beer-a-marriage-made-in-heaven