It is one of those festive occasions France is famous for. The Festival of the Cheeses of Savoie is being held for the 17th time this year on June 25th and 26th in the scenic mountain town of Semnoz in Haute Savoie. No less than eight kinds of cheeses are produced in the region which all offer a distinctive taste revolving around the grazing of the cows and goats in Alpine pasture lands and a cheesemaking know how that has been handed down through the generations. The eight cheeses of Savoie are labeled AOC, the French acronym meaning Protected Designation of Origin or IGP, the French acronym meaning protected indication of origin.
This year the star of the festival is the celebrated Tome des Bauges AOC which is produced in the heart of the Bauges mountain range in the French Prealps. The cheese is produced from raw cow’s milk and is uncooked, pressed and has a mould rind which is sometimes referred to as a blooming rind. It is ripened for five to eight weeks and is best between May and August, so perfect for tasting during the festival. It is an unctuous cheese with a roasted touch to its flavor. The cheese is celebrating its twentieth year of its AOC or Protected Designation of Origin. The local Chevrotin AOC, a soft goat’s milk cheese produced in the region is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Protected Designation of Origin.
Meanwhile visitors to the festival can enjoy tastings and cheese, wine, spice and beer pairings of local products, cheesemaking demonstrations, goat milking and other interactive activities and the wonderful mountain air. The event is organized by the Association of Traditional Cheeses of the Savoyard Alps. The eight cheeses of Savoie are: A.O.P. Abondance, A.O.P. Beaufort, A.O.P. Chevrotin, I.G.P. Emmental de Savoie, I.G.P. Raclette de Savoie, A.O.P. Reblochon, A.O.P. Tome des Bauges and I.G.P. Tome de Savoie.
©Trish Valicenti for the The Gourmet Gazette
Categories: Gourmet Fare