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Mar 23, 2014

Milling About: Rouelle du Tarn

THE STORY:
 
It's not the Moulin Rouge, but in our trip to the Dordogne, there are a surprising number of mills (moulins) involved.



We are lucky enough to get to eat at Au Vieux Moulin (The Old Mill), the restaurant in the unbearably cute converted mill in the almost unbearably cute town of Les Eyzies. Perhaps luck has nothing to do with it: We eat American hours, from the restaurant's opening at 7pm till around 9pm
and, as you can see from the photo, we  have the place to ourselves. Yes, there is foie gras.

 

We visit the Rouzique Mill in the tiny village of Couze-Saint-Front, the only restored and operating paper mill of the thirteen that were in business here in the 15th century. Paper has been made here since the medieval times, and as part of our visit, we get to make our own.
 
 
 

We take a day to go old-timey at Le Bournat, a more-or-less 1900s-themed park.
 
 

It's old-fashioned fun, all right. Gigi enjoys stacking the cans even more than knocking them down. We get to ride on a mechanical horse that goes around the track. And Anthony tells me this mirror makes me look, and I quote, "even shorter and squatter than usual."
 
  
 
We take a real horse cart ride (at my insistence) which becomes our family joke (at my expense) for the worst vacation activity ever, mostly because after waiting and waiting, we finally get on the overly-mellow cart ride just in time for the heavens to open up on us. So now I know: wet and bored is not my family's favorite state of being. Yes, Le Bournat also has a mill, which is still in operation, grinding flour to this day.

 
 
THE CHEESE: Rouelle du Tarn
 
The Rouelle du Tarn, or Wheel of Tarn, is a raw milk goat's cheese of my family's favorite class of cheese: moldy donut. It is lightly moldy and brainy on the outside, and mildly goaty and savory on the inside. This is -- by far, our favorite cheese on the plate, both times I buy it. We just devour it at one sitting and cannot get enough. Blast that hole in the middle!
 
 
My very American nephew is originally hesitant to eat this, because of the oozing, blackened, moldy quality developed over a 2-3 week affinage period. Yet when he finally tries it, he too loves it. How could he not? Light acid finish, hints of hazelnut throughout.
 
 
The Rouelle du Tarn was created in 1984 by a farmer whom I would like to thank publicly.
 
THE CONNECTION:
 
Tarn is not actually in the Dordogne, but it is just over the border -- close enough if you're milling about the area. And more to the point, a rouelle is a wheel, much like the wheels that the mill turns for grinding. Both the mills and the cheese are as lovely and photogenic as can be.
 
 

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