Milk: Raw cow's milk
Animal breed: Tarine, Abondance
Size of cheese: 55cm
Location: Val d'Isere, Rhone-Alpes
Season: All year
Our Beaufort producer is one of a kind. His cheese cannot be classified as Beaufort Alpage, that ‘king of the mountain cheeses' made entirely with milk from the highest mountain pastures, but it is a close relative. Whilst most standard Beaufort is made in large co-operatives aiming for easy-eating milky sweetness, our producer is what you might call an Alpagist in Co-operative clothing. He only uses milk from his own two herds, one grazing the high mountain pastures throughout the summer, the other at a lower valley altitude. The son of an alpagist, his recipe continues many of the alpage traditons – he makes his own rennet and starter cultures - the wilder cultures allowing the cheeses to be aged above 18 months without any of the ‘itchyness’ that sometimes develops in older mountain cheeses.
The results. we think, are pretty unparalleled, and speak of the quality of the milk from of his two herds of Abondance and Tarine cows, and a production of great precision and care. Wheels taste floral and buttery with gentle hazelnut notes and an undertone of spice.