Particle detection in the very forward region is one of the most crucial and at the same time one of the most difficult tasks in experiments at the future Large Hadron Collider. So far, survival of the detector in the intense radiation levels that characterize this region has been the (only) guiding principle in proposals for very forward calorimeters. In this paper, we discuss a type of detector that is not only adequate in radiation hardness, but also optimized with respect to the very specific requirements that a very forward calorimeter in an LHC experiment has to fulfill in order to be useful for the study of the physics for which it is intended. The detector consists of a large number of quartz fibers embedded in a copper (or iron) matrix and is based on the detection of Cherenkov light produced by relativistic shower particles in the fibers. We discuss the arguments for the choice of quartz, copper/iron and the fiber structure and the unique calorimeter properties that result from this choice. We present Monte Carlo simulations assessing the characteristics and the expected performance of this calorimeter.