Tuesday 14 July updated on 07-14-2020 at 8:06
Sunny with a few cloudy intervals. Early in the afternoon moderate southerly winds in Tarentaise and Vanoise ; decreasing later. Elsewhere...
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Beaufort is a cooked, pressed cheese made from untreated, whole cow’s milk.
It embodies Savoie in all its splendour. Its production area covers the high mountain regions of the Beaufortain, the Tarentaise and the Maurienne as well as a part of the Val d’Arly.
This area amounts to 450,000 hectares out of the 630,000 in the department of Savoie.
15,000 cows are involved in its production. They are exclusively of two Savoyard breeds, Tarine and Abondance, renowned for the quality of their milk and which have remarkable qualities of endurance and the ability to adapt to the rigours of the high mountains. The Tarine takes its name from the Tarentaise Valley. It is a small cow, 500 to 550 kg, with a fawn-coloured coat, black hooves, horns in the shape of a lyre and black eye “make-up”.
The Abondance is native to the Abondance Valley, in Haute-Savoie. Its coat is mahogany-coloured while its head, belly and legs are white. It is recognised by its «spectacles », the red rings around its eyes. It weighs around 650 kg.
The production of Beaufort enables the landscape of verdant pasture, on which the reputation of the mountains in summer is built, to be preserved. The cows feed on the abundant grass and flora in the high mountain pastures. As they graze and tread the ground, they contribute to the maintenance of this grassy asset. The hardier Alpine grass holds the snow better on the ski slopes in winter.
During the summer season, known as the «100 days », from June and the end of September, cows climb up to 2,500 m to feed on the abundant grass and luxuriant flora in the high mountain pastures
Depending to the production season, we talk about Beaufort, Beaufort d’été (summer) and Beaufort Chalet d’alpage (made in the high-altitude herdsmen’s chalets). The various nuances of flavour are the result of the cows’ diet which varies between winter and summer:
- Beaufort is made between November and May. The cheese is pale, and the flavours are very delicate.
The cheese matures for between 7 and 12 months to bring out the full flavour of Beaufort. This is true of all 3 types of Beaufort!
- The «Summer» label applies to cheese production from June to October inclusive. The cheese is yellow with more pronounced and more diverse flavours.
- The «Chalet d’alpage» label applies to summer production, made twice daily in accordance with traditional methods in the high-altitude herdsmen’s chalets using warm milk from a single herd. The cheese is more coloured and its flavours more distinctive.