Made in the Garrigues region of Provence in southern France, Rove de Garrigues is produced exclusively from the milk of Rove goats, a rare breed native to the area.
Having originally been developed as a meat breed, Rove goats produce much less milk than an average dairy goat – usually about two liters per day as opposed to five. However, their their milk has an extremely high butterfat content, making it ideal for the production of fresh cheeses such as Rove de Garrigues.
Butterfat in milk has the capacity to translate the flavors of pasture and forage. The goats roam and browse the countryside in the mountainous Garrigues region which is naturally laden with thyme, citronella, rosemary and other herbs. Consequently, these flavors are immediately evident in the finished cheese.
Rove de Garrigues was traditionally produced by the nomadic goat herders of the region and sold at local markets. Although these raw milk cheeses are still available locally, several cheesemakers are now making pasteurized versions that are more widely available.
Rove de Garrigues are best eaten as young as possible, preferably within about two weeks of production. At this stage, the delicate flavors are balanced by a gentle tang that leaves a very fresh, clean taste in the mouth. There is no external rind, but as the cheese matures, it develops a more yeasty flavor that can detract.
Cheeses are made in two ounce rounds and are bone white in color. The texture is dense, fine and moist. They pair well with white wines such as Cotes de Ventoux.