Beaufort refers to a French Cheese produced in the Savoie region on the massif Beaufortin, the Tarentaise and the Maurienne. Cows are grazed during the summer months at high altitude in areas free from pollution and fertilizers. Some of the mountains reach 3000m with deep valleys in between. Beaufort originally took its name from the little market town near Albertville.
Beaufort is made from the milk of the Tarines cow, a strong and hardy animal. This breed of cow originally came from the Indo-Asian Continent and crossed central Europe before reaching France. During the winter months the cows are kept in sheds to protect them from the heavy winter snow and, in accordance with A.O.C. regulations, they are not fed any silage or other fermented fodder. In spring they are taken high into the mountains to graze on the Lush grass and spring flowers of the alpine meadows. In autumn they return to the villages before the winter snows. The cows graze over the mountains for a 100 days from June to September . The Beaufort is pale and white when made in the winter and pale yellow when made in the summer. It is said that the chlorophyll from the grass and the carotene from the alpine flowers gives this cheese its colour and flavour.
This French cheese dates back to the time of the Romans and is made from the milk of Beaufort cows. Part of the gruyere family, it is sometimes also known as Gruyere de Beaufort.
Produced in large Wheel shapes, the cheese has a pale yellow to golden yellow colour with a rough, burnt orange rind. It has a semi-firm texture and a slightly sweet, smooth flavour. Its excellent melting qualities make it a good choice for fondues, and is also suitable for snacks, appetisers or grating.
There are three types of Beaufort: Beaufort, Beaufort d'ete (summer) and Beaufort d'alpage (made in chalets in the mountains). All Beaufort is made in a similar way to Gruyere but can be easily distinguished by the concave shape around the circumference produced by the 'cercle de Beaufort' - this is a band placed around the cheese which is tightened during the first pressing of the cheese. Beaufort does not have holes. The cheese was baptised the 'Prince of Gruyeres' by None other than that great gastronome, Brillat-Savarin in the 19th Century and it gained its A.O.C. status on 4th April 1968. This was modified on 29th December 1986 to include a wider area of acceptable production.
Beaufort is often enjoyed with Volnay (Cotes de Beaune) or a golden yellow wine of the Savagnin grape (from the Savoie) matured in oak casks for at least six years giving it a walnut flavour. The cheese is often added to fondues and has earned its place in the best chefs' kitchens.
If not availabe, it can be substituted with Emmental, Fontina
List of books: Beaufort