I suppose there are more people who have been to the Savoie region for skiing than looking for cheese. In my opinion it should have been the other way round, even though skiing is fun. I prefer downhill to cross country, by the way.
Funny enough, I have never been to this region, apart from Annecy. A wonderful town worth visiting just ab hour’s drive or so from Genève. This is a lack I have decided to correct sooner rather than later.
Well known cheeses from Savoie
. There are some cheeses we all know, such as Beaufort. In my opinion this is the best alpine cheeses there is, especially the Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage. It does not get any better than that. This cheese disappears very quickly from my fridge at least, if it ever reaches so far. Cheese, some dried ham, for instance the French Noir de Bigorre, country bread and a bottle of wine. Choose a mature cheese 18 to 24 months and you get the fine sweetness the alpine cheese is so famous for. Ask your favourite cheese monger.
If you think Beaufort is above your budget, Abondance might well be an alternative. matured from three to nine months and comes with a very chareacteristic concave side. So does Beaufort, but less characteristic than Abondance. Rind is very hard, but beneath there is a fruity semi hard cheese with hints of nuts.
On the soft side there is always reblochon, this mild washed rind cheese made at the mountain farms. It can also be industrial, so look for the “Fermier” sticker. Then you have a cheese that is made according to tradition often using wooden vats. This is the cheese used for the Tartiflette dish. If you have not had it yet, it is time to try. I am afraid I only have a Norwegian recipe, so you have as Google for help. It is a healthy dish, so perhps not a summer night, more for the darker and cooler autumn evenings.
Looking for something more rustic? Then Tommed e Savoie is an obvious choice. Farmstead, everyday cheese that originally was made from skimmed milk, because they used the milk fat for butter which was way more valuable. Today it is one of a few cheeses with protection that can be made from more than one type of milk, when it comes to fat content that is. Whole milk, skimmed milk or something in-between.
The not so known cheeses from Savoie?
I depends on how familiar you are with cheeses from the Savoie. But for most of us there are many cheeses from the region that we do not know. I am not going to go through all of them, but I will start with one that was among the first cheeses I bought after I had started OSTEPERLER.NO. It is called Tomme Crayeuse. Crayeuse means chalky. Exciting aromas, moist earth, straws and butter, but also with a hint of citrus. Creamy texture. You should try it.
Tome des Bauges is a pressed, semi hard cheese, which can be made from either whole milk or semi skimmed milk. So there is another one. Rind is thick, dark and rough, covered with mould often referred to as “cat hair”. The paste is ivory coloured with a few scattered holes. Comes in small wheels so it is possible to buy a complete wheel whithout being ruined. A very tasteful cheese that has been made in the Bauges valley for a long time.
Some washed rind cheeses
Abbaye de Tamié is as the name suggests a monastic cheese from the abbey L’abbaye de Notre-Dame de Tamié close to Albertville. From the Bauges area this as well. Wrapped in paper with an easily recognisable blue print with a Maltese cross as some kind of logo. Rind is almost saffron yellow while the paste is towards beige with a smooth and creamy texture. A few holes. Pleasant aroma and flavour. Delicate and fruity.
I have written about Manigodine before. Hails from the farms around the village of Manigod, not so far from Annecy. A fabulous cheese with a belt to keep the form. matured by Joseph Paccard. Manigodine is a woman from Manigid, so the name of the cheese is a tribute to all the female cheese makers in the area.
You might not have heard of Moelleux du Revard? Comes from a rather smakk dairy in the small town of Trévignin just outside Aix-les-Bains. Tasteful and well worth trying.
Many more cheeses
There are many more cheeses, but I will leave you with a couple of chèvres from the area. Besace de Savoie has a somewhat crumbly texture with fragrances of herbs and mountain flowers. As it matures the taste gets more mellow.
Galet de la Chartreuse is made by the Branche family byu the d’Aiguebelette lake. It is barrel shaped. A soft chèvre this, but through being dried it acquires a very hard texture. However crumbly it may be, in the mouth it becomes smooth as cream and soft butter. Nice saltiness and with a heavenly taste. With that name like that I suggest you try along a glass of Chartreuse V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge).
So, there we are with quite a lot of cheeses being left out. Not so good that lot? Not at all. It is just they are too numerous to mention them all. I suggest you go hunting cheese gems from Savoie, there is a lot to find.