Last week I went to the Savoie region to do a little “cheese investigation” haha. And I’m so happy to share with you some of the moments I had discovering Reblochon cheese, the nature of the Manigod (Aravis) area and their dedicated farmers!
16,000 tons of reblochon per year are produced in the Aravis valley of the Savoie mountain area of France.
The altitude being 1000 meters up high affects favorably the cheese (wine too) as we know that what’s in the earth comes out in the “flora and fauna”
The region is known mostly for the making of abundance, reblochons, tomme (with 2 ms, there’s another tome, with just one m, not the same) cheese.
Reblochon was created in the 13th century in the Avaris valley
And can be classified as Reblochon if it’s made from these 3 types of cows: Montbeliarde, Abondance, Tarine
The whole process from cattle nursing care, milk collection, cheese making, “affinage” to when it gets on your plate is a tedious one, but à labour of love.
As I got to meet some of the farmers and there families it made me realize how “dedicated ” they are to their craft and family.
The women in the family are usually the ones making the cheese and the men caring for the cows. A tandem process that sees them constantly in their work and home enviremont.
For instance, while we were learning from Brigette the ways to “feel” the cheese into perfection. Her husband came to give her a hand and it was fascinating they were talking about home life “if the kids are with your mom or mine?!” … regular family life from the looks of it.
Some important/interesting steps at the farmer:
The cheese must be covered by linen cloth and hand sized manually turned
When the cheese has a green ticket for origin on each cheese we know that is was an artisan farmer and not one that came from different farms.
Covered with Knox 6kg for pressure
There is a special wood – the Epicéa (Spruce) that is a major part of the drying room process. It’s found naturally in the area and left on it to dry for 4 to 6 days, being turned at least twice a day.
Then some interesting steps at the affineur (where it gets treated):
We visited that of the Pacard family on our second day in the area. In total there are only 19 Fromagers and 11 Affineurs.
The Cheese producers come on Monday, Wednesday Friday to drop off their cheese for finishing treatment.
Here we visited the Cheese cellars and learned more about the Epecia wood; that’s 400 years ago was being used to make the chalets – still used today in the area.
So apparently the cutting of the wood, must follow the moon cycle:
15 last days of “line descendant” in December. This is when it naturally makes it fight against bacteria (2 days too early or too late will not work!!)
I got asked, when I shared a video on instagram “no gloves?”
I was told: We don’t feel anything with gloves – the Fromagier needs to be able to touch and feel!!!
And as they follow the standard regulatory process everything is “clean but not steril”
The cheese stays 2 weeks being turned at affineur in their cellar and will sell at around 40 to 45 days of being treated.
Find the Pacard cheese at Madame Barthélémy fromagerie in Paris
51, rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris France
Wine paring TIPS:
with regional wines is best as cows give back flavor mixed from nature!!
Beaufort and Reblochon with white wine
Abundance and Tomme with red wine
MORE PHOTOS from the town of Annecy:
To get to Annecy was around 3.5 hours from Paris by Train from Gare de Lyon. And as you can see from the photos it has a vibe similar to Venise, because it has a strong Italian influenced history in the architecture and a big part of the town is on water. Food was great and so was the wine.
I’ll be writing another article on that and the hotel we stayed soon…But if you need more info on the region send me an email [email protected]
Thank you @reblochondesavoieaop and Clair de Lune :
Instagram for Manigod area here: @manigod_tourisme