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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cheese: Beaufort

It’s handsome (beau); it’s strong (fort); it’s Beaufort.

From the Savoie region of the Rhône-Alpes, this classic French cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, specifically the breads Tarine and Abondance.  These dairy cows feed on a diverse vegetation in the Alpine Mountains which account for the cheese’s rich floral and slightly nutty flavor.  There are two versions: summer and winter.  The summer Beaufort or Beaufort d’eté is made from June to October and the winter Beaufort or Beaufort d’Alpage is made in the mountain chalets at an altitude of 1500 meters.  The Beaufort d’Alpage is white and the Beaufort d’eté is pale yellow due to the flowers the cows eat.
            Beaufort is hard cheese and made in enormous wheels weighing 80 – 100 pounds.  It ages at least 4 months and is constantly rubbed with a brine to form its characteristic concave and ivory-yellow speckled rind.
Beaufort is not a local cheese for us, so it’s not easy to find.  We were recently at a market and its highlight was a cheese monger from the Alps regions who had a half wheel of Beaufort at her stand.  We bought some without hesitation.  Imagine everything wonderfully stereotypically about bell clad cows grazing in green flowing pastures under snow covered Alps and you’ve got yourself a fair image of what is Beaufort cheese.  It’s rich, it’s honest, it is what a cheese should be.  

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