A note for viewers – part one of this video is above, part two is at the bottom of this post.
On a recent trip to the rolling hills of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region in France, I had the pleasure of spending a day with farmhouse cheese-makers Francois and Vanessa Masto and their small herd of Rove goats.
The Rove breed of goat is typically found only in this region and is easily identified by their long, lyre-shaped horns. Their milk is super-rich and prized for making the local varieties of cheese Province is famous for, including Banon.
Francois and Vanessa are farmhouse cheese-makers in every sense. Each morning they collect the raw milk ready for cheese-making. Then, following the practice of traditional shepherds (or in this case, goatherds), Francois takes his goats up into the hills to graze on the wide variety of local grasses, flowers, herbs and shrubs. As the ‘padré’ of the herd, Francois has to lead the goats up the hill, make sure they don’t stray too far or get into trouble, then guide them back down in the early evening.
It was a truly magical experience to accompany Francois and his herd up into the hills and gaze down on the surrounding valleys with only the sound of the goats’ bells tinkling in the warm air around us. A big thanks to our guide for the day and location assistant, Fanny from Mons Fromager Affineur.
Here’s part two of our visit to Francois and Vanessa’s farm: