Kitchen. Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Fourme d’Ambert… Overview of Auvergne cheeses

cantal

At 2,000 years old, it is the oldest cheese from Auvergne. In the past, the cheese was prepared in burons, small massive, squat and semi-buried constructions which also served to house the cowherd. In 1956, the cheese was awarded an AOC and the dairies reorganized to meet growing demand. The manufacturing gestures remain in line with tradition and the know-how can therefore be perpetuated.

Thanks to its stages of refining, Cantal offers several flavors. When young, its rind is white and fine. Its sweetness gives it a real taste of butter and milk. Its maturing lasts only 1 to 2 months.

The in-between is matured for 3 to 7 months. Its rind is “golden buttoned” and its meshy and melting texture. It is he who is favored by consumers thanks to its subtle balance, its notes of hazelnut and fermented cream.

With its thick, brown rind, old Cantal is a gourmet cheese. Powerful with spicy notes, it is the perfect expression of the know-how of cheese makers and affineurs.


Saint-Nectaire gives off a smell of mushrooms and wet leaves from the undergrowth. Shutterstock Photos

The holy nectary

This cheese comes from the volcanic area of ​​the Monts Dore, at an altitude of 1,886 metres. Dressed in a bloomy rind with white, gray or orange mold, it reveals a beautiful cream-colored texture once sliced. It gives off a smell of mushrooms and wet leaves from the undergrowth. It melts in the mouth, developing real hazelnut aromas. Like Cantal, it is an uncooked pressed cheese. It is a circular cheese of about 1.7 kg. It takes 12 to 13 liters of milk to make it.

Exclusively farmed, therefore made only with raw milk, the salers reveals a complexity of the aromatic note which differentiates each producer.  Shutterstock Photos

Exclusively farmed, therefore made only with raw milk, the salers reveals a complexity of the aromatic note which differentiates each producer. Shutterstock Photos

The salers and the gerle de bois

A traditional tool that contributes to the good taste of the salers, the gerle is none other than a vat made of chestnut or acacia wood. Moreover, a decree of March 2000 makes it compulsory for all AOP production. Thanks to work carried out by the INRA Cheese Research Unit in Aurillac, the ability of gerles to inoculate milk with the micro-organisms necessary for proper processing has been demonstrated. These same micro-organisms would also be producers of the best aromas.

In the past, the herds left for the mountains in the summer pastures and the men who accompanied them lived in the burons. There, the buronnier punctuated his life with that of his animals, between milking and cheese making, from spring to autumn. If the processing in the buron has disappeared, it is nonetheless the tradition which wants that from the spring, the herds manage to take advantage of the grazed grass.

Exclusively farmed, therefore made only with raw milk, the salers reveals a complexity of the aromatic note which differentiates each producer. Depending on the altitude and the orientation of the pastures, the breed of cows and the ripening conditions, the different aromas are expressed. Here, vegetal or lactic; there, fruity or animal and even spicy.

It is the use of different strains of Penicillium Roqueforti that will explain the differences in textures, tastes and colors between Bleu d'Auvergne and Fourme d'Ambert.  Shutterstock Photos

It is the use of different strains of Penicillium Roqueforti that will explain the differences in textures, tastes and colors between Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert. Shutterstock Photos

Blue cheese and fourme d’Ambert

As with fourme, the parsley of Bleu d’Auvergne is obtained from milk seeded with a mushroom called Penicillium Roqueforti. For this mold to develop, blue requires space and oxygen. To do this, we talk about capping the curd grains and pricking the cheeses using long needles that will create ventilation chimneys.

It is the use of different strains of Penicillium Roqueforti that will explain the differences in textures, tastes and colors between Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert.

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