What is Bonde de Gâtine? The Drum-Shaped Delight from France

Bonde de Gâtine (FRANCE) - Cheese Origin

If you’ve ever wondered about the diversity of French cheeses, let us take you on a journey to the South-western region of France, to the marshy Gatine area of Poitou.

This is where the extraordinary Bonde de Gâtine originates, a cheese that is as rich in history and tradition as it is in flavor.

Shaped like an old-fashioned wine barrel cork, or ‘bonde’, this cheese is a rustic delight that has captivated palates for generations.

Join us as we delve into the world of Bonde de Gâtine, uncovering the secrets behind its unique drum shape, its production, and the distinctive taste that sets it apart from the rest.

Quick Facts About Bonde de Gâtine

Country of OriginFrance
RegionGatire, Poitou-Charentes
AgeUsually aged for 2-3 weeks, but can be aged longer for a more intense flavor
ClassificationAged Fresh, Soft
MilkRaw Goat’s Milk (or pasteurized goat’s milk for export)
Weight400 g (14 oz)
ProducerPatrick Cantet
SizeDiameter 4.5 cm (2 inches), Height. 7 cm (3 inches)
ShapeSmall, cylindrical or drum-shaped
AromaNutty and slightly sweet when young, becoming more intense with age
TasteSalty, acidity with earthy and fruity notes
PairingSancerre Blanc
TextureDry and Wrinkly rind, soft and smooth paste
ColorAsh-coated rind, white paste

What is Bonde de Gâtine?

Bonde de Gâtine is a unique and traditional French cheese hailing from the marshy Gatine region of Poitou in South-western France. Named after an old-fashioned cork used to seal wine barrels, this cheese boasts a distinctive drum shape which pays homage to its name’s origin.

Made from either raw or pasteurized goat’s milk, Bonde de Gâtine requires a substantial amount of milk for its production – around 2 liters for a single cheese. It’s crafted by dedicated cheese producers, one of the notable ones being Patrick Cantet, who uses the milk from his 300 goats fed with quality farm products and fodder.

The cheese undergoes a careful aging process, usually lasting a few weeks, resulting in a complex flavor profile. When young, it offers a buttery taste with slight fresh hazelnut flavors. As it matures, the cheese develops a stronger goaty taste and can become spicier, offering a burst of light, fruity, and earthy tang.

One of the standout features of this cheese is its rind. It’s ash-coated with a wrinkled texture, providing a delightful contrast to the smooth and rich interior pate. This combination of textures adds another layer of interest to this already fascinating cheese.

Bonde de Gâtine is often enjoyed with a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, or a light red. Whether you’re a cheese aficionado or simply enjoy exploring unique tastes, Bonde de Gâtine is certainly a cheese worth trying.

Did you know?
In France, the cheese is made with raw goat’s milk but for export, it uses pasteurized goat’s milk which ultimately leads to the lack of ash-coating on the thin rind.

What Does Bonde de Gâtine Taste Like?

Bonde de Gâtine

Bonde de Gâtine is a cheese that offers a rich and complex flavor profile. The initial taste is characterized by pronounced acidity and saltiness, which then melts perfectly in your mouth, leaving behind a rich aftertaste.

The cheese is known for its earthy and fruity notes, offering a delightful balance that pleases the palate. As it matures, typically over a period of about 3 to 4 weeks, the flavors become more developed and intense.

One of the unique aspects of Bonde de Gâtine is its buttery and slightly fresh hazelnut flavor. This nutty taste, combined with the developed goaty flavor, adds an extra layer of complexity to this cheese.

The rind of the cheese is lightly sprinkled in ash, which contributes to its overall flavor. Inside, the pate is deliciously smooth and rich, bursting with a light, fruity, and earthy tang.

Overall, the taste of Bonde de Gâtine can be described as a harmonious blend of acidity, saltiness, fruitiness, earthiness, and nuttiness, offering a truly unique and enjoyable gastronomic experience.

Bonde de Gâtine Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Bonde de Gâtine has a unique cylindrical or drum-like shape. The rind is natural and often covered in gray or blue mold, giving it a rustic look. The interior pate is white to creamy in color.
  • Texture: When young, the cheese has a semi-soft texture that becomes harder as it ages. The rind provides a contrasting texture to the smooth and creamy interior.
  • Smell: The cheese emits a mild, goaty aroma that intensifies with age. There may also be a hint of earthiness due to the mold on the rind.
  • Taste: Bonde de Gâtine has a complex flavor profile. Fresh, it offers a slightly sweet and nutty taste. As it matures, the flavors become more robust, with an intensified goaty taste and a hint of spiciness.
  • Aftertaste: The cheese leaves a rich and lingering aftertaste. The flavors mellow out, leaving a pleasant, slightly tangy residue on the palate.
  • Pairings: Bonde de Gâtine pairs well with both light red and white wines. It can also be enjoyed with fruits and nuts on a cheese board.
  • Overall: Bonde de Gâtine is a versatile cheese with a rich and complex flavor profile. Whether enjoyed fresh or aged, it offers a delightful gastronomic experience.

What Pairs Well With Bonde de Gâtine?

Food that goes well with Bonde de Gâtine:

Food PairingDescription
Fresh FruitsThe sweetness of fruits like apples, pears, or grapes complements the earthy flavor of the cheese.
Dried FruitsDried fruits such as apricots or figs offer a sweet contrast to the tangy and nutty flavors.
NutsAlmonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts add a crunch and enhance the nutty undertones of the cheese.
HoneyDrizzling honey over Bonde de Gâtine can balance its robust flavor with a touch of sweetness.
BreadA slice of crusty bread or a baguette serves as a neutral base that allows the cheese’s flavors to shine.
CharcuterieSalty meats like prosciutto or salami pair well with the cheese, providing a savory counterpoint.
OlivesThe briny tang of olives complements the rich and creamy texture of the cheese.
Dark ChocolateA piece of dark chocolate can provide a bitter-sweet contrast to the cheese’s earthy flavor.
Fresh VegetablesFresh vegetables like bell peppers or cucumbers provide a crisp and refreshing contrast.
Jams and PreservesSweet and fruity jams or preserves can enhance the fruity undertones of the cheese.

Beverage that goes well with Bonde de Gâtine:

Beverage PairingDescription
White WineA crisp and acidic white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, can complement the tartness of the cheese.
Light Red WineLight-bodied red wines like Pinot Noir can balance the robust flavors of the cheese without overpowering them.
Sparkling WineThe effervescence and acidity of sparkling wines like Champagne or Prosecco can cut through the creaminess of the cheese.
Dry CiderA dry cider can offer a fruity and slightly tangy contrast to the cheese’s earthy and nutty flavors.
Craft BeerA Belgian-style ale or a craft IPA with citrus notes can complement the cheese’s complex flavor profile.
PortA sweet and rich port can provide a delightful contrast to the cheese’s savory and nutty taste.
SherryA dry sherry can match the intensity of the cheese while providing a nutty and slightly sweet counterpoint.
WhiskeyA smooth and slightly sweet whiskey can bring out the cheese’s creamy texture and nutty undertones.

Where to Buy Bonde de Gâtine:

LQV Group – 250 g for HK$140

More Cheeses from France:

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