Crottin de Chavignol
Crottin de Chavignol is a white goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley in France. It is named after the small village of Chavignol. The cheese is made from unpasteurized milk and is similar to a pasteurized version called Crottin de Champcol.
Crottin de Chavignol is generally aged 4 weeks or more. Younger versions of the cheese have a slightly nutty taste. The cheese becomes drier and more crumbly as it ages. The rind darkens as the cheese gets older. The taste also becomes stronger. The cheese looks less appealing to some people as the cheese ages, but is still edible, as this cheese can be eaten a different stages of its maturation.
The word "Crottin" in French means "droppings", as in horse droppings. The name describes the shape and size of the cheese, not the taste. As the cheese ages and becomes darker, it resembles horse droppings even more than the younger version.
Crottin de Chavignol has had AOC protection status in France since 1976. This means that for the this cheese to be sold in France, it must be made in a certain area, using unpasteurized goats milk, and follow other regulations. (Weight, size, and fat percentage, for example.) The non-AOC version, Crottin de Champcol, does not have strict requirements, and is generally made from pasteurized goats milk.
Where to buy
We found a couple of places online that claim to sell Crottin de Chavignol. We are slightly suspicious. Unpasteurized French cheeses must be aged 60 days to be sold in the United States. fromages.com states that their cheese is at least 8 weeks old, so their cheese may be the real deal. Anyone claiming to sell younger Crottin de Chavignol in the U.S. is either breaking the law, or selling something similar, like Crottin de Champcol.