You know how to taste it but do you know how it is made?
As I was stuck in the city, I had a look on Instagram. Very resentful mistake when I discovered that Winter holidays were on, and that #snowyselfie was a really Trending topic. And when I noticed that friend Solly was in my children camp in the Alps, it was a big digital heartbreaking, huge jump but deep breath to wonderful world. With good souvenirs and wonderful smells.
Just before my new life in London, I walked up from my lovely sunny home town, French Riviera to quiet graphic Alps. And between some beautiful places like these or those, we met some Abondance and Tarentaine cows who were just ballasted from some liters of milk. They told us to follow the truck which was taking their liquid away. Are herbivore animals reliable? Sure, ‘cause Beaufort cheese raises your soul when you are on the mountain snowy peak, wishing to be back to the station as soon as possible to bog in melting dishes.
And driving down and round the Beaufort valley, we discovered the picturesque coopérative de Beaufort. Hanging Geranium on wooden bridge and river murmuring. Quiet romantic to start the visit of the factory. So put your shoes on, climb up to the cheesy speciality and tie your hair back for a yummy tour.
How to make good cheese?
Cheese is like every cuisine stuff. It needs to be cooked. Well brand new milk ends in huge ranks and is heated at 33°C with milk-curdling enzyme. A magic natural enzyme which turns milk in a kind of big fat cottage cheese.
After it is cut in pieces, it is reheated at 54° C with a little help of hot whey, to warm up hot water. Yes making cheese can be eco-friendly! And between noisy trucks and stainless-steel funnels, the cooked paste is molding, one by one on the conveyor belt, then pressed. See the droplets on cheeses? Then start the upside down game, turning over cheeses dozens of times after the 11th first hour… After they move out, yes, cheese never takes a break.
Why Beaufort so special?
Because of his favorite place : the salting room. Out of absorbent cloth and wooden tins, the cheeses are going to the bath time. A showering time for a dozen of hours with brine, pickling mix between water and a lot of salt (the one with the wales on it-French people know). Why so much? It can help to fix dampness and develop the own tastes of the milky creation. See how firm it is now? But, it is not enough, a 24hour stop would be perfect to disappear the watering side of the blending.
The next step is just light above the corridor. No scared in the dark, they are only cheeses sleeping in the ripening cellar. A beddy-bye time for 6 months but there are not really resting. Every two days, they will be bothered, brushed, cleaned and turned over by thirty or so workers and strange robots.
Modernism doesn’t kill skilled labor but improve the cooperative which gathered from the start in the Sixties, motivated workers all over the mountains. Nothing has changed, cheese cellarmen still drilled and tasted cheese which is being made in order to deliver every day between 40 and 120 cheeses a day. Do you need more figures? Well 5 000 tones a year in the 7 factories. And what about picking just one to taste it?
And what about cheesy eating?
Or tastingS? Because we can figure out how to restrict yourself and there are not one but two Beaufort cheeses. One from Winter and One for Summer. Winter edition smells strings and the indoor cow fodder. Summer creation is the most popular with flowery, fruity, natural like flavors.
Hesitating gives time to enjoy smoothness and enigmatic traceability letters on faultless rind. Maybe it would help for cooking. According to our guide, winter Beaufort cheese would be better or cheaper. Fondue is great and really friendly dish, sharing cheese and forks can come together even with strangers. Do you want his secret? Well, keep it secret, a bit a Summer AND Winter Beaufort with a slice of Emmental, White wine. And that’s all.
Need something out of the box?
Maybe a Beaufort pie could be the answer with Green salad. Or cheese sticks in Eggs and milk then bread-crumbs in a frying pan with a bit of butter revealing a soft and crunchy association. Mere and perfect.
My choice would be after lunch slice of Beaufort, just over the fridge. Little sweetmeat which puts Fresh air in your lungs and stomach even in overcrowded cities. Adverts were right, Mountains can overcome you…