In accordance with PARIS -AFP, one of the best and most popular French chefs, Alain Ducasse, and a well-known in France chocolate and pastry chef, Yves Thuries, have decided to take over the top national higher school of pastry (Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie, or ENSP). The school, located in the southern part of France, in Yssingeaux, faced a possible closure due to declining enrolment of students, which “saddened” the famous chefs. The school was established in 1984 as the only culinary college in France that offered a complete and advanced curriculum in order to teach established chefs the art of making pastry. Last year, only 750 students were enrolled in the program.Ducasse, the celebrity chef of the top-ranking Michelin restaurants in Paris, New-York, and Monaco, believes that the school can be resurrected to become a French “seedbed of creative pastry”. He already has his own culinary school, named “Alain Ducasse Formation”, which not only trains professional chefs but also provides consulting services to create balanced meals for astronauts of the European Space Agency!
The chefs’ educational plans include attracting international students to enrol in the training, as well as exporting the French pastry art expertise by establishing the school branches outside of France. It is planned that, by the year 2010, about 1,200 culinary students will attend a full-time school program, while amateur chefs from both France and other countries will learn the art of making pastries at the regular weekend courses.
Roquefort is a delectable ewe’s-milk blue cheese from the South of France, and is one of the most famous of all French cheeses. In accordance with the European law, only those cheeses aged in the natural Cambalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon have a right to be named “Roquefort”, this is why when you buy this cheese you can be absolutely sure in its authenticity and the highest quality.
Legend states that Roquefort was first discovered by a young shepherd, who left a piece of fresh ewes’ milk cheese in a cave. When he returned a few months later, the cave mold had transformed his plain cheese into wonderful Roquefort. True or not, but in France, Roquefort was honoured with a royal patent already in the thirteenth century. In the medieval times, this pungent blue cheese was believed to have aphrodisiac qualities, the fact which even was noted by the world’s famous lover – Casanova.
Roquefort is always made from fresh, unpasteurized milk of the Lacaune breed of sheep and has a white, crumbly and slightly moist texture with veins of blue mold (Penicillium roqueforti). Roquefort has no rind. An average head of this cheese is about 5 pounds, which requires 4-5 times the amount of fresh milk (about 13 litres!) in order to produce one head. After 4 to 9 months of aging, all vitamins and enzymes of the milk remain intact in Roquefort – it is very high in fat, protein, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals, especially calcium. Its odour is strong and has a notable hint of butyric acid, the taste is rich and smooth with a sharp, astringent tang. The overall flavour sensation begins slightly mild, then turns into sweet and smoky, and fades to a prominent salty finish. The cheese fully exhibits its rich flavour if combined with red wine from Burgundy.
More information about Roquefort in English can be found at:
French Cheese Guide
Recipes with Roquefort