Creamy and smooth with a real tang!
Name: Beaufort Cheese
Age: 6- 18 Months
Country + Region: France, Savoie
Milk Type: Cows
Style Of Cheese: Hard
Producer: Yvette et Jérôme Empereur
For our French cheeses we have partnered with Beillevaire.
Small company started in the 1980s in the West of France by Pascal Beillevaire, a dairy farmer.
All cheeses are artisan or farmhouse, produced or handpicked by Pascal, selected for their quality and originality. This Beaufort is produced by Yvette & Jerome Empereur.
Artisan and farmhouse cheeses are made following traditional methods, mostly by hand, and need to be matured before being enjoyed. The difference between the 2 production processes is the origin of the milk: Farmhouse cheeses are produced with milk that is exclusively produced by the producer’s own herd. Artisan cheeses can be made from milk coming from different farms (like our cheeses), but these farms need to be local.
How it's made
Produced in the Haute-Savoie region of France—an area highly regarded for superior pasture during the summer months—Beaufort is one of the most famous Alpine cheeses, a massive wheel that clocks in at an impressive 80 to 130 pounds.
References to its production date back over 2,000 years, to before the Roman occupation of France. Government legislation finally caught up in 1976 when Beaufort was granted AOC (name protected) status—now, it’s protected with an EU-wide PDO. Three versions of Beaufort are produced: Beaufort, Beaufort d’Eté (summer Beaufort) and Beaufort d’Alpage, which is made in high-mountain huts during summer.
To produce Beaufort, makers heat milk to between 89 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit before adding traditional animal rennet and letting it coagulate over 30 minutes. The curd is cut into wheat-size grains, which are slowly stirred for 10 to 15 minutes before being “scalded,” reheated again to a temperature not exceeding 133 degrees Fahrenheit. (This process expels more whey from the curds but leaves enough moisture so that they don’t dry out.) The curds are then scooped out of the vat using a large cloth, and placed in a beechwood hoop or mold. The hoops have a distinctly concave side that gives Beaufort its unusual shape.
Cheeses are pressed for 20 hours under enormous pressure—up to one ton—and turned several times during the first 24 hours. After unmolding, the wheels are transferrd to a cool “cave” and stored for another 24 hours before being submerged in brine for a day. Thereafter, cheeses are turned and hand-salted on one side every morning and rubbed every afternoon while being stored on spruce shelves.
This process continues for one to two months, and when the rind is deemed satisfactory, the routine changes to twice weekly turning, and an application of mixed salt and a substance called “morge.” Morge is a mixture of brine, old cheese scrapings,and whey, and is known to contain at least 480 species of bacteria. This process develops the characteristic russet-colored rind of Beaufort.
Wheels of Beaufort are matured for at least six months. During this time, flavors of the cheese concentrate and develop, becoming extremely deep and complex – especially with cheeses made from summer milk.