It tastes unique, has character, a long tradition and is still a very rare product. Only five classified farmers (Catherine, Bernard, Raphael, Fréderic, Michelle) in the Vanoise nature reserve still produce this blue cheese using traditional methods. This happens on farms or alpine huts between June and September. Made by hand, only a few precious pieces (a few hundred) are available every year! They are even numbered by the respective producer.
If you are looking for the origin of this 100% cow's milk cheese, you have to go high up - to the mountain pastures at an altitude of around 2,200 meters, because the milk for this specialty is provided by cows that graze on the high pastures throughout the summer. A table laid out of bright orange-yellow gold Pippau, white clover or alpine meadow grass awaits the cows there. Ingredients that give the original milk product a characterful flavor.
The milk can only come from the cows on one farm and the cheese is also made there on site. They are exclusively Abondance and Tarentes cattle, which have adapted to the living conditions in high alpine regions and are able to forage in steep terrain.
So what comes out as cheese in the end can only be a good thing.
Now to the real secret of Bleu de Termignon
It is the only cheese that has blue mold without being artificially inoculated (with penicillin). Its peculiarity is that it is naturally marbled, unlike the other blue cheeses inoculated with Penicillium (the ferment that allows the development of the blue mold). No penicillin is added to the dough! If there is mold, it comes from oxidation . The cheese must be pierced regularly with the needle to allow air to enter and allow mold to form. Since it occurs irregularly , it is not uncommon for the Bleus de Termignon not to be marbled, i.e. not as blue!
The very traditional and authentic production begins with a mixture of cheese curds (when the milk begins to turn into small compact lumps that are used to make the cheese). One curd from the day before and the other from the day after. The ivory-colored dough is crumbly , the farmer pours it into a round pine mold and presses and shapes it by hand.
Each product is unique and has its own flavors.
The bark is dry, brown with orange spots and saffron yellow dots. It resembles a stone in appearance and hardness.
The taste initially has a mild, subtle spice, but after just a few seconds the cheese develops its full sweet and sour blue mold aroma with a hint of alpine flowers. That makes you very happy!
What do you drink with a Termignon blue cheese?
It's all a question of maturation. The bluer the cheese, the softer the wine should be! And for a cheese from Savoie... what could be better than a wine from Savoie. If the cheese is young, choose a full-bodied and strong white wine like Chignin Bergeron. If it is more ripe, choose a softer and fruitier wine such as a Roussette Tradition cépage Altesse.
You will definitely tell us about it!
And the red wine? Avoid wines with too much tannin and prefer a grape variety like Gamay du Beaujolais or Pinot Noir de Bourgogne.
From now on you know (almost) everything about this cheese, which is regularly invited to the tables of star chefs and perhaps soon to yours too?