Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2009-12-15
In December you should have no difficulty finding one of France’s best cheeses in finer cheese shops everywhere: alpine Beaufort. Grenoble’s Bernard Mure-Ravaud, Best Artisan of France 2007, knows everything there is to know about this exceptional cheese.
‘The rules of making alpine Beaufort are as follows,’ he explains. ‘Take one farmer, one herd, two milking and two cheese-making sessions daily. That equals waking up at 3 am and ending the day at 9 pm, all at at least 1,500 metres altitude! You’d have to be mad to do this job - and that’s why there are fewer and fewer candidates!’
Mure-Ravaud makes a truly outstanding alpine Beaufort which warrants the respect due to a fine Bordeaux or Burgundy wine. A noble cheese which requires over a year to age, this symbol of Savoy owes as much to summer alpine prairies, rich in flowers and a varied flora, as to the know-how of its cheese artisans. And let’s not forget the Beaufort dairy cow, an ancient mountain breed with a mahogany-coloured coat and fabulous milk, twelve litres of which go into making one kilo of cheese.
Alpine Beaufort has a pale yellow colour and the faint scent of milk, butter and honey. Semi-soft, its flavour is complex, intense and flowery with a just a suggestion of acidity and salt. It is heavenly with a glass of fine white wine from the Savoy, Gilles Berlioz’s organic Chignin-Bergeron, for example.
Fromagerie Les Alpages
2, rue de Strasbourg