One of our daughter's favorite dishes is hot baked Crottins de Chavignol served on a piece of toast along a plain salade verte. Crottins are small round-shape goat hard cheese. The most famous ones come from Chavignol - a small village near Sancerre in the Loire Valley.
France (and Europe) being very strict as to protecting regional products and savoir-faire, the crottins can only be called Crottins de Chavignol is they are actually coming from the Chavignol area. They are protected by what we call an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) which is a French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products that come from certain terroirs. Other areas in France produce crottins de chèvre - they are just not labeled "de Chavignol".
We grew up eating crottins de chèvre chauds either as an appetizer or a lunch/dinner entree They are an easy-to-choose-easy-to-make affordable dish that pleases most cheese lovers. For those of you who have traveled to France, they are generally on many casual restaurants, served on a slice of toasted Pain Poilâne (or any other pain de campagne if pain Poilâne is not available.)
Unfortunately, this is one of the dishes I hardly make in the US. Much to my family's regret. Reason? Price of the crottins. In France, you could purchase crottins de chèvre for less than 1 euro each (2 euros if you want them organic or de Chavignol), while in the US, I find them at at least $5/piece for locally-made cheese. What is an affordable entree in France become luxury across the Atlantic!
We therefore serve them on special occasions only (or when they go on sale, which is to say... rarely.)
As a result, whenever we go to France, our daughter makes sure to eat a lot of them, always volunteering to help prepare them whenever she can! I think that if we were not living in an apartment building in the center of Philadelphia, she would try to get a goat to make her own crottins! If you have access to crottins where you live, please try to make this salad. You would not be disappointed! Bon Appétit!
- 1 (or half) a crottin per person
- 1 (or half) of wholewheat bread
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Thyme/Rosemary (optional)
- Put the crottin on a slice of bread with rosemary/thyme on top
- Pour some olive oil on the crottin and the bread
- Bake in the oven under the High Grill for 5 minutes (or more depending on the power of your oven; you want the crottins to start melting but the bread should not be burnt)