In my eyes, Le Beaufort was always the prince of Savoie cheeses, particularly strong, particularly majestic, but also particularly expensive. - Says and tells our cheese master.
It is a cheese that is shaped by the mountains, by its people, by its history, by its transport, by its production and by the cows of the alpine meadows (which have a much happier life than many of their counterparts, as they are at least 1500 years old meters above sea level, are free to move as they please, in a beautiful setting and away from chemical products and stress).
But it is also a cheese that has left its mark on the mountains. In order to create the alpine meadows, the men had to create space in the forest, build alpine huts and create paths. The cows maintain the meadows and, for example, prevent avalanches from occurring in winter. The cheese has also contributed to the economic survival of the mountain region. And what a joy it is to meet the herds of cows during a summer walk in the mountains and to chat for a moment with the dairy farmer.
These are the memories that are imprinted in my mind. The Savoie region would not be the same without Beaufort and its cheeses. We at Augustas Box love the Beaufort!!! As a gratin, as a fondue, on a slice of bread, in a salad and much more. He is always present. It is the incomparable gout that awakens the taste buds.
The history of Beaufort goes back to the 1st century, received new impetus in the Middle Ages with the production of its ancestor - the Vachelin - and from the 17th century onwards it was driven forward by its direct predecessor - the Grovire.
During the French Revolution, the Welfare Committee ordered 1,500 wheels of this cheese to feed the people of Paris. This is how the Beaufort saved the Parisians from starvation.
However, it was not given its final name until 1865, which connects it with the Alpine region of Beaufortain.
The Taranto cows
The quality of the cheese is closely linked to the quality of the milk from the herds of cows that populate the French Alps. They conscientiously graze the high alpine pastures full of delicate herbs and alpine flowers.
The small Tarento cattle are excellent mountain walkers and persistent ruminants, capable of eating more than 15 kilograms of hay per day. They have reddish brown to grayish brown fur. They look kind of funny with their symmetrically upturned horns with black tips. The people of Tarento give their milk for the famous Beaufort.
Pressed into a convex beech wood hoop, the cheese has a slightly inwardly curved edge with a diameter of up to 75 cm and a weight of up to 70 kg. After at least 6 months of maturity it has a hard yellow to brown bark. Particularly selected Beaufort wheels are often left to mature for 12 - 24 months. This hard cheese is smooth and rich in fat, has no holes and tastes nutty. Three varieties are produced: in addition to the simple Beaufort, the Beaufort d'été (milk production from June to October) and the Beaufort d'alpage.
Beaufort d'alpage is the crowning glory of the delicious mountain cheeses from Savoie!!
Only around 15 dairies cultivate their high pastures for the Beaufort. Every dairy farmer works in his alpine hut. He is only allowed to have one herd and has to graze it at high altitude so that the milk has its own taste, which is closely linked to the flora that predominates there. Of course, Beaufort is made there traditionally and by hand. It takes fresh milk from around 45 cows to produce one wheel of cheese. This of course explains the high price of this royal cheese.
But this isn't a cheese you eat every day! Long live Beaufort!