Chronically passed up for its pock-marked cousin, the “Prince of Gruyères” is now showing what it’s made of (in more ways than one) at Bourg-Saint-Maurice’s spiffing new Beaufort AOP centre.
A veritable Mecca to Savoie’s star AOP cheese snug in the shadow of Mont-Blanc, the Coopérative Laitière de Haute Tarentaise’s shop-education hub hybrid opened at the tail end of March and flies the flag for the crumbly stinker, sweeping turophiles on a whirlwind journey through its complex production process – from milking and refining to quality control – with tastings galore to boot.
An institution ever since its inception in 1964 in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, the 52-strong Coopérative Laitière has been a proud bastion of Savoyard savoir-faire – handling 8m litres of milk and turning out 18,000 wheels of Beaufort AOP per year no less – championing quality and traceability and, crucially, preserving a fast-waning cheesemaking tradition for future generations. Keen to step up its safeguarding mission, some six months ago, the collective set its sights on turning its humble HQ and fromagerie into a state-of- the-art learning centre offering the ultimate field-to-fork experience.
As well as charting the cheese’s centuries-old history, the cooperative pays tribute to the industry’s unsung heroines – the Tarine and Abondance cattle responsible for Beaufort’s uniquely nutty flavour and firm yet creamy texture – with a darling photo exhibition and videos of the cud-chewers placidly grazing the Tarentaise Valley’s flower-studded pastures to the clinkity clink of bells. This eye-opening foray into Beaufort’s production secrets complete, gourmands will get to put their knowledge to the test and indulge in a gut-busting dégustation… at the 15-metre-long cheese counter!
For more information visit www.fromagebeaufort.fr
THREE WAYS TO ENJOY… BEAUFORT
Prepare to gorge yourself silly on the “Prince of Gruyères”
You can’t beat the Holy Trinity – Beaufort, Emmental and Comté – drenched in white wine and simmered to perfection in fondue Savoyarde. Ideal to warm those cockles on a nippy spring day.
A Spin on Tartiflette
Purists will recoil at the prospect of foregoing gooey Reblochon but we’re rather partial to a generous coating of Beaufort on our Tartiflette. You could go for a double whammy and fling in both…
A Calorie-Laden Tarte
Ready for off-the-charts cheesy goodness? The Tarte au Beaufort is the artery-clogging marriage of butter-laden pastry, heavy cream and eggs, the lot smothered in a thick layer of cheese. Delish!
From France Today magazine