Bon Anniversaire Beaufort Cheese AOP

Beaufort cheese I would say is one of the finest cheeses in France. The origins of this versatile, firm and flavourful cheese can be traced back as far as Roman Times! And this year is the 50th Anniversary of Beaufort Cheese receiving the AOP* accolade (Appellation d’Origine Protégée)

Beaufort cheese comes from Beaufortain, Val d’Arly, The Tarentaise valley and Maurienne in the Savoie department of France.

Brillât Savarin, the 18th-Century French gastronome called
Beaufort the prince of cheeses

Beaufort Cheese
Beaufort Cheese – photograph from fromage-beaufort.com

There are three varieties of Beaufort Cheese:

Beaufort d’été (or summer Beaufort) is made when the cows are grazing on the alpine pasture from June 1st to October 31st. 53,430 Summer Beaufort wheels were manufactured in 2017. You can taste the herbs, wildflowers and grasses in this fabulous cheese.

The Beaufort Chalet d’alpage this is the rarest Beaufort Cheese and forms just a small part of the summer production (less than 10,000 wheels). It is made using traditional methods and only in alpine chalets above 1,500 meters above sea level and with the milk from a single herd of cows.

Beaufort d’hiver (winter Beaufort) is made from November to May, when the cows are in the valley, including the cowshed. The curd is clear because the cows are mainly fed on hay (harvested during the summer). 66,430 Winter Beaufort wheels were manufactured in 2017.

The mahogany and white Tarentaise Cow
The mahogany and white Tarentaise Cow

It takes around 500 litres of milk from the Tarentaise cows to make a 40- 45kg Beaufort. Beaufort cheese is 48% fat. Beaufort is made by heating the unpasteurised milk and casting into a large round mould or collar made of beechwood. It is cooled, then soaked in brine and stored on spruce wood shelves for around one or two months. During this time, it is coated by hand with salt each morning and then turned and the rind rubbed by hand every afternoon.  When the cheese rind has matured it is coated with a mixture called morge which gives the cheese its flavour and the pale yellow colour.  The Beaufort cheese is then matured for between 6 – 12 months in cool stone cellars.

Beaufort cheese maturing in the cellar
Beaufort cheese maturing in the cellar

It is the combination of 3 characteristics that give Beaufort Cheese its unique flavour: The region of France, the dairy cows with mountain qualities and the ancient and traditional knowledge of the cheesemakers handed down through the generations.

Beaufort is popular as part of the mixture in a Savoyard fondue and regularly seen on cheese boards in the region.  It is a great cheese for melting on a Croque Monsieur and often found cubed in Alpage salads.  It is the cheese of choice in many recipes where melted cheese is used.

Canelés with chorizo and Beaufort Cheese
Try this recipe for Canelés with chorizo and Beaufort Cheese

*AOP is the French certification granted to some French geographical indications for wines, cheese, butter and various other agricultural products.  When a product carries the AOP title it is subject to a rigorous set of clearly defined standards that the product will be produced in a consistent and traditional manner using ingredients from specifically classified producers in designated geographical areas.  Around 40 cheeses including Reblochon have been awarded an AOP label.


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3 thoughts on “Bon Anniversaire Beaufort Cheese AOP

  • August 16, 2018 at 10:41 pm
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    Yum! I’m a self-proclaimed cheesehead, but sometimes, I forget to look what exact cheese I’m having because I so wanted to finish eating them…haha. Kidding aside, Beaufort Cheese is one of the many cheeses I love! That photo of cheese wheels in the cellar, makes me wanna visit the place to try! 😉

    Reply
  • August 19, 2018 at 11:18 am
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    I know a lot of French cheeses, as a cheese-obsessive, but I’ve not tried this one, so thank you so much for the introduction. I shall seek it out in its various seasonal versions!

    Reply

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