BEAUFORT AOC,The Prince of Gruyères,a cheese from The Alps.
BEAUFORT SUR DORON Travel Blog› entry 14 of 45 › view all entries
Beaufort is a cooked,pressed hard cow's milk cheese with a lack of holes produced in a large area around Beaufort in the Beaufortin massif (Savoie department) in the French Alps.The AOC decree has limited the production of the cheese to the Beaufortin,Tarentaise,Maurienne valleys and a part of Val d'Arly.
Tarine and Abondance cows are grazing from June to September the lush grass of the Alpine meadows at high altitude and return after 100 days to the villages before the winter snows where the use of silage is prohibited in feeding.This grass rich in flowers gives Beaufort cheese its typical nutty aroma.Because of the process of ripening lasts 5 to 6 months,the best time for Beaufort is therefore November to March:savouring then that cheese,one can see that the summer milk provides a bright yellow dough (pale white when made in winter) and a fruity flavour.
One can follow the CHEESE PRODUCTION in several dairies such as the Cooperative of Beaufort,a smelling place that I have visited several times:
- CURDLING:the rennet prepared according ancestral methods is added to the milk poured in a copper cauldron at 33°C for coagulation.
- BREAKING UP THE CURD:the cheesemaker cuts the curd into small grain-sizes pieces
- COOKING:the grains are heated to 53° or 54°C
MOULDING and PRESSING:when the curd is ready,the cheesemaker places it in a cheesecloth, then he presses the cheeseclothed curd in a round wooden mould "le cercle de Beaufort",a band placed around the cheese which is tightened during the first pressing which gives it its concave shape.
- SALTING in a bath of brine
- MATURING:lasts a minimum of 5 months upto more than one year in a cool mountain cellar where the Beaufort is salted,rubbed and turned twice a week.
Each cheese characterized by its reddish brown rind and its concave heel weighs 20 to 70 kg with a diameter of 35 to 75 cm with a 48% fat minimum content.There are 3 varieties of Beaufort:
- Beaufort de Savoie or summer Beaufort
- Beaufort d'hiver or winter Beaufort
-Beaufort d'alpage made in chalets on the Alps mountains
HISTORY:It was baptised "the Prince of Gruyères" by the great French gastronome Brillat-Savarin in the 19th century.
This cheese takes an important place on the cheese board and like other hard cheese,it cooks easily and is often added to FONDUES.
www.fromage-beaufort.com in English and French with recipes!
www.cooperative-de-beaufort.com only in French but very informative by its pics on the cheese process
www.areches-beaufort.com for tourism information on these traditional and picturesque villages of Savoie,Beaufort being a small ski resort which don't spoil the landscape and where people can enjoy nature all year round.