Referred to by the French as Le Prince des Gruyères, Beaufort d'été is an incredible cheese and one which all our Cheesemongers love.
It originates from the Savoie region within the French Alps slap bang in the middle of some of the largest ski resorts in the world - Les Trois Vallées and Paradiski. It is an incredibly traditional cheese, having been made in some form for thousands of years, gaining its AOC status in 1968.
There is a lot of criteria needed to gain AOC status starting with location - all Beaufort must be made within the French Alps. The milk must be at least 80% Tarantaise cow with the rest from either Tarantaise or Abondance. The cows must graze on mountain pastures at an altitude of at least 4921 feet (1500m) and lastly the milk can only be raw / unpasteurised.
Beaufort has an interesting and distinctive shape to it. The beechwood hoops which the cheese is put into for pressing gives it its concave shape. The story says that farmers would transport their cheeses down the mountain tied to the back of their donkeys and this concave edge created by the hoops held the rope in place perfectly.
Beaufort is turned over a 5 to 12 month period, salted and washed in a substance called "morge" which is a mixture of brine, old cheese scrapings and whey.
Due to the weight it in pressed under it is an incredibly firm, smooth cheese. It is rich and buttery thanks to the full fat milk used and the pastures the cows eat from give it flavours of herbs, flowers and grass. As with all alpine cheeses it is nutty with toasted caramel notes too. The paste is a beautiful straw yellow colour with no holes.
A great cheese to add to any fondue as it melts really well - have a look at our fondue and other melty cheese recommendations here.