What sets Isigny Cream apart from other creams? First of all, the vast “hedged garden” that is Isigny and its home terroir.
Even today, the marine-based soils, exposed to the ocean spray, benefit from a mild and temperate climate conducive to the growth of grass that is naturally rich in mineral salts, iodine and beta-carotene… Properties that are found intact in the milk and, consequently, in the region’s Cream.
Then comes the unique know-how, handed down and preserved from generation to generation.
A faithful reproduction of the Normandy dairy tradition, modernised with the same exacting standards to produce an exceptional Crème Fraîche, recognised by everyone for its quality.
Savour the taste.
The history of Isigny PDO Crème Fraîche
The first cream lovers…
The first to appreciate it were the nomadic peoples of Asia, followed by the Celts and Vikings. Its popularity really grew in the 19th century, when the most discerning gourmet palates began to praise the flavour and creaminess of Isigny Cream.
The Protected Designation of Origin for Isigny Cream
Isigny PDO Crème Fraîche is made exclusively using milk from the Bessin and Cotentin regions.
It is produced according to an authentic, slow organic maturing process (16 to 18 hours), which gives it a beautiful ivory colour.
To obtain this designation, the Cream must be made from a high-quality raw ingredient, without any preservative treatment.
This raw ingredient is pasture-based milk, collected locally in our unique and unspoilt terroir within a radius of 35 km from our Cooperative.
With its ivory or pale yellow colour, characteristic of the rich pastures, and its firm, creamy texture, Isigny PDO Cream is one of the only French creams to have been granted a Protected Designation of Origin label.
THE GEOGRAPHICAL ZONE, THE KEY TO THE RENOWN OF ISIGNY PDO CRÈME FRAÎCHE
An exceptional grassland product:
Like with fine wines, such as Burgundy wines, Isigny has its own terroir or “climate”. As early as 1874, livestock farmers turned the Isigny region into a prestigious grazing area described as “opulent pastures, veritable fountains of cream and butter”.
An exceptional raw ingredient that is used to produce a unique milk and therefore a unique Cream.
The region’s geographical location, with its close proximity to the sea, and its typically flat terrain, help to explain the uniform distribution of rainfall throughout the year and its mild temperatures, even in winter.
These elements encourage the growth of grass all year round and generate long grazing periods for the animals. The high mineral content of our terroir soils means that the grazing lands are very rich.
Today, the staple diet of our dairy cows comes from the meadows on which they graze for at least seven months of the year. Producers have a particular fondness for the Normande breed, which is an excellent cream-maker, thanks to its milk that is rich in both fat and protein.
With a supply of fresh or preserved grass for consumption all year, a significant proportion of the breed can be kept in the geographical area. A coastal terroir where soils of marine origin, combined with a mild and temperate climate, encourage the growth of grass that is bursting with mineral salts and carotenoids.
The cows here produce naturally rich milk and, as a result, the cream has a unique flavour, texture and colour.
The white gold of Isigny Sainte-Mère:
The milk used to make Isigny Cream comes exclusively from a restricted area around Isigny-sur-Mer, comprising 175 municipalities in the Cotentin and Bessin regions. With its ivory or pale yellow colour, characteristic of the rich pastures, and its firm, creamy texture, the qualities of Isigny PDO Crème Fraîche are recognised by gastronomic professionals the world over.
- Its texture: Organic maturing and the fat content (35% minimum) give Isigny PDO Cream its luxurious, firm, smooth and perfectly uniform texture.
- Its taste: Isigny PDO Cream is fluid on the palate, with a fresh, pleasant and mild flavour, and a slightly acidic taste.
- Its flavours: Slow maturing in the traditional way is a delicate and important step that allows Isigny PDO Cream to develop its distinctive flavour profile. The aroma is subtle and dominated by milky notes. It should also be fresh and pure.
- Its colour: Carotene-rich grass gives Isigny PDO Cream a distinctive ivory to pale yellow colour and its distinctive matt appearance.
- Its benefits for human health: This Cream contains lipids, good quality proteins and vitamin A. It also has a high mineral content, particularly sodium, and high concentrations of micronutrients. These are substances that are essential for healthy and balanced growth.
The production secrets of Isigny PDO Cream
The Master Cream-maker and his team are responsible for producing our Cream.
He checks the quality of the milk collected from the producers of the Isigny Sainte-Mère Cooperative and ensures that all the steps are scrupulously respected in order to produce the best Cream using traditional methods and expertise.
- Skimming: The milk is first placed in a skimmer and is separated into two components: the fat and the skimmed milk. This separation process is essential, as it is the only way of obtaining the desired fat content. The aim of skimming is to obtain a minimum fat content of 35%. The cream is then pasteurised.
- Lactic ferment inoculation: This step, during which lactic ferments are added to the Cream, is known as “inoculation”. The composition of these ferments is a secret closely guarded by the Master Cream-maker, because this is what gives Isigny PDO Cream its unique flavours and specific texture.
- Maturing: The Master Cream-maker supervises the maturing process. He must control the maturing time, temperature and texture in order to obtain the qualities for which Isigny PDO Cream is renowned.
A slow and traditional maturing process
This traditional maturing process requires good quality milk and time.
Norbert Constant, Master Cream-maker at the Isigny Sainte-Mère Cooperative, likes to compare the maturing of the Cream to that of a fine wine in oak barrels, or to the proving of a baker’s dough.
Slow maturing in the traditional way allows Isigny PDO Cream to develop its distinctive flavour. It is matured at room temperature, between 18°C and 22°C, for 16 to 18 hours, in line with traditional methods. This is an important and delicate stage.
For the magic to work, the spell requires know-how, respect for the product, but also expertise gathered over centuries of practice. Cream-making is an art form that is orchestrated by our Master Cream-maker.
Lactic ferments, the signature of Isigny Cream:
The ferments used to make our Cream give it a characteristic texture, making it creamy and full-bodied.
They also slightly acidify the Cream and naturally enhance the aroma and flavour of the finished product.
During inoculation, the Cream is gently stirred, so that each gram of Cream can benefit from all the virtues of the ferments.
This process creates more complex tastes and textures, with optimised flavours.