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Lightly smoked and creamy Banon goat's cheese served with ginger and bergamot-infused cress sauce.
These berlingots are the quintessential symbol of my cuisine. I wanted to create a pasta dish unprecedented in its taste, colour and shape, inspired by raviole de Romans - a typical dish from Drôme of mini ravioli stuffed with Comté cheese, milk curd, and parsley. The idea for the pyramid shape came from the berlingot sweets I ate as a child, with the pasta flavoured with matcha green tea. The innovation in this dish resides in the pyramid shape, which ensures an optimum pasta to stuffing ratio and results in a runny, creamy and positively delicious stuffing. Nowadays I make the parcels in a variety of different flavours, depending on the season, location, and my own inspiration.
In Valence, the berlingots are stuffed with Banon, a soft goat's cheese with a natural rind produced in Alpes-de Haute-Provence, where some of my family comes from. I mix the Banon with mascarpone cream, heat it at a very high temperature until the texture turns smooth and creamy, and then add brousse de brebis (a sheep milk cheese). Made wholly from unpasteurised goat's milk, Banon is left to mature in chestnut leaves, giving it an earthy taste with tannic notes. The matcha keeps this woody impression in the mouth for longer.
Despite how it may sound, this is a very green, grassy dish, both visually and taste-wise. The sour and bitter shoots of Chinese mustard, oxalis, purslane and komatsuna flowers (a Japanese vegetable I'm particular fond of) bring freshness to the berlingots.
The sauce plays a key role here. It was born from my forays into the world of perfume. I'm a firm believer in cross-fertilisation between different creative spheres. One thing the professions of perfumer and chef have in common is that they consist of assembling different flavours. My meeting with Philippe Bousseton, the nose at Takasago, taught me how to add further complexity to my flavour combinations, which is perfectly embodied by this sauce. Watercress is rich in chlorophyll and imparts slightly spicy notes. I make a green, grassy cress water with a bitter tinge to it, which pairs up beautifully with the matcha tea. Ginger is used to boost the spiciness of the watercress. Bergamot - a citrus fruit - is used heavily in the perfume industry, and I have always wanted to work with it. It pairs with watercress instinctively to give a more floral edge that lasts longer in the mouth. Bergamot zest caught my attention due to its highly floral and slightly bitter flavour, and bergamot juice for its mild acidity. They balance out the bitterness of the watercress very well. A highly complex aromatic sauce built around bitter, spicy and floral tastes.