Fromagerie Hamel

Cheesemonger Selection

January 2011

Beaufort

Beaufort

The cheese makers, meanwhile, rhythm their day according to milking time: morning and evening, they collect the precious white liquid to transport it, still warm, to the cheese dairy. After the traditional production steps – coagulation, mixing and heating, moulding, pressing (lasts 20 hours) and brining (24 hours in salted water) – will come the refining. The Beaufort cheeses will then pass to the cellar-man hands who, for 5 to 15 months, will softly aged them, so the wheels will develop their subtle floral, fruity and salted aromas.

Though rocked by the jingle of cowbells resonating on the walls of mountains, the cheese makers are not bored…

In 1968, Beaufort received its Controlled term of origin (replaced today by a Protected term of origin granted by the European Union Commission). Consequently, Beaufort cheese makers have to respect specific norms as the following examples: - Milk strictly has to come from Tarine and Abondance cow breed; - The cow milk production shall not exceed 5000 kg a year; - Cows can not eat ensilage (fermented hay), only dried hay and fresh herbs; - Refining time is at least 5 months.

And this heel? Have you ever noticed that the Beaufort heel (side of the wheel) was concave? The origin of this unusual shape could be related to transportation of the wheels from mountain to village. The deep heel allowed cheese makers to tie a rope around the wheel and to secure it on the mule’s back. Others said a concave heel retain the cheese from sinking. But does it really matter since this heel is today’s Beaufort signature?

Beaufort, Beaufortain Beaufort got its name from the Beaufortain massif, a French Alps massif of Savoie, where the famous cheese is produced. Rising to 2995 m, it is sprinkled with about ten major summits, the highest being Roignais. This massif is a magnificent destination for winter sports lovers.

A few numbers In 2007, 108,000 Beaufort wheels were produced. A wheel weighs between 20 and 70 kg. One needs 10 kg of milk to make 1 kg of Beaufort. Not less than 11,000 cows give their milk to Beaufort. In 100 g of Beaufort, there is 1 g of calcium (8 times more than in milk). A 60 g piece of Beaufort bring as many proteins as two eggs or 100 g of beef.

Do you know that shorten high mountain herbs (by cows teeth) will hold more snow than long herbs (never eaten), therefore reducing the risk avalanche?

Do you happen to know that delicious Savoie fondue was composed of Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie (or Abondance) and Emmental? Try it, you will adore it, for it is incredibly fine and creamy.

Please consult last months' selections to discover more delicious cheese recipes.

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