Agriculture and Beaufort PDO
Agriculture in AussoisMilk, cheese, honey...
In the last century, few families did not have animals, cows, goats or sheep. The habitat was built according to the agricultural life, a history to discover at the Arche d'Oé.
Today, agriculture is still very present in Aussois and in Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Most of the farmers provide the milk that is used to make Beaufort cheese, nicknamed "the prince of Gruyères". A cheese that has had a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) since 1968. The local milk is also used to make Bleu de Bonneval sur Arc, butter or yoghurts that you will find in the sales outlets of the Haute Maurienne Vanoise dairy cooperative, and in particular at the one in Aussois installed in the heart of the village.
The herds of sheep and cows graze in altitude all summer and thus contribute to the maintenance of the landscape. In the summer, you can see them while hiking on the side of the Rateau d'Aussois. In spring and autumn, the animals are closer to the village where the meadows benefit from an ancestral irrigation system: the water of the torrents has indeed been captured for centuries and then brought to the meadows thanks to canals and wooden pipes. A traditional system that is still used, maintained and renovated.
Among the other local products, you can taste the local honey and even visit the honey factory in summer and winter, but also the beers of the Brasserie d'Oé, brewed in the heart of the village with the water of the Vanoise.
In Haute Maurienne Vanoise, several mountain pasture farms welcome you and let you discover their life, hard but beautiful, their products of which they are proud. The farmers will gladly tell you about their job, milking, haying, calving, patous, wolves...
The cowsTarines and Abondances
In Aussois and Haute Maurienne Vanoise, a large part of the cows' milk is transformed into Beaufort, an exceptional cheese that allows a fair remuneration of the work done by the farmers.
The production of Beaufort cheese meets strict specifications. The milk can only come from two breeds of Alpine cows: Tarine and Abondance.
The Tarine has a uniformly tawny brown coat, black mucous membranes, a black muzzle and eye rims. Its lyre-shaped horns are white with black tips. 1,30 m at the withers for 600 to 800 kg. A magnificent cow whose natural "make-up" enhances its beauty.
TheAbondance has a red mahogany dress, matched "glasses", a mask, a belly, a tail and the end of the white legs. 1,30 m at the withers for 600 to 700 kg. With its two colors, it is easy to spot in the middle of a herd of Tarines.
They are hardy breeds and originate from the mountains. The cows spend several months outside in the mountain pastures, without fearing the weather or bad weather. Good walkers, they are solid and robust.
The goats that you will meet in Aussois are most often of the Alpina breed, which originates from Savoy. It is easily recognizable by its buff color coat. A stocky and solid animal, the "Alpina" goat offers good dairy qualities and a great sense of adaptation to the altitude and its sometimes difficult climatic conditions.
SheepHerds and patous: some reflexes to adopt
Sheep in Aussois and Haute Maurienne Vanoise are often of the Thônes and Marthod breeds. Their main quality is their resistance. They spend 3 to 4 months in freedom in the highest pastures and are the best allies for the maintenance of the landscape and the mountain pastures.
With their spiral horns, their white coat, their black muzzle and "glasses", they are simply beautiful. But... don't approach them to take a picture! They are jealously guarded by the patous, dogs of protection charged to take care of their safety. Patous dogs who will bark if they see you coming towards the herd. In this case, stop, stay calm and turn back without making any sudden gesture. In general, when you see a flock of sheep, go around the flock and keep your distance. If you have a dog (they are not allowed in the heart of the Vanoise National Park), keep it on a leash. If you are on a mountain bike, get off the bike and walk alongside.
Passionate men and women
to offer you the best
Double-activeYour ski instructor may also be a farmer!
In Aussois, and in the other resorts of Haute Maurienne Vanoise, farmers are often double-active. They take care of their animals and their farm and they also have a second job, often linked to tourism: ski instructor, ski patroller, mountain guide...
A particularity that can even be found in the local school curriculum: the vocational high school of Saint-Michel de Maurienne, the closest high school to Aussois, offers double training to high school students (a "winter" job related to tourism and a "summer" job related to the construction industry).
The CoopHaute Maurienne Vanoise Dairy Cooperative
A collective system created in 1954, the Lanslebourg Cooperative merged between 1966 and 2008 with the cooperatives of the other villages to form the agricultural unit represented by the Haute-Maurienne Vanoise Dairy Cooperative.
Today, it belongs to 40 farmers. They entrust the professionals of their Cooperative with the collection of milk, its transformation into Beaufort PDO or Bonneval Blue, the maturing and the marketing of the cheeses.
Take advantage of your stay in Aussois to visit the cooperative located in Val Cenis-Lanslebourg (20 minutes by car). You can discover the magnificent maturing cellars and watch the Beaufort cheese being made in the morning. A sensory experience to live with your family!
Do you miss the Haute Maurienne and its culinary wealth? From your home, place your order via the platform Terroir de Maurienne and receive the good products that you enjoyed and tasted during your vacations in our villages!
A real showcase for the valley's farmers and craftsmen, their know-how and their work, Terroir de Maurienne is a way for these producers to promote their products in a short circuit.
An ethical charter common to all the members of the project guarantees a production carried out in the rules and the respect of the environment and the territory.
- Milk storage limited in time
- Maturation of milk with ferments to develop lactic bacteria
- The renneting and curdling process which transforms the milk from a liquid to a solid state
- Decanting to separate the solid matter from the whey
- Stirring and heating to drain the curd grains
- Moulding in a curd form
- Pressing and turning remove the serum from the cheese
- Salting in brine or with dry salt
- Refining, a crucial stage that gives all its character to the products
Also known as the "Prince of Gruyères", Beaufort is produced from raw, whole milk. Since 1968, it benefits from an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) which imposes very strict specifications including regular controls on milk producers as well as a minimum maturing period of 5 months.
It comes in the form of a wheel weighing about 40 kg, 11 to 16 cm high and 35 to 75 cm in diameter with a concave heel. Its paste is smooth and ivory to yellow in color. It is initially firm in the mouth and then melts.
11,000 wheels of Beaufort cheese are produced each year by the Haute Maurienne Vanoise Cooperative. Each of them is made on site in Val Cenis-Lanslebourg with the 5 million liters of milk collected annually from Modane to Bonneval sur Arc. Summer Beaufort and Winter Beaufort delight the taste buds of the finest gourmets!
The blue of Termignon
Termignon blue cheese is so rare that it is often sold before it is even made! This mild, blue-veined cheese with a natural rind is produced exclusively in the mountain pastures of Val Cenis-Termignon, from the milk of herds of Tarine cows grazing at an altitude of more than 2,500 m during the summer.
It comes in the form of a cylinder weighing about 30 kg, 30 cm in diameter and 15 cm high.
It is prepared from a sour curd mixed with a curd of the day, it is matured 4 to 5 months.
The Blue of Bonneval sur Arc
The Bleu de Bonneval sur Arc is both firm and unctuous. This cheese is produced from the milk of cows fed in mountain pastures.
The maturing in the cellars (3 months minimum) gives it an incomparable taste, the freshness and the character of the high mountain.
30,000 pieces of 20 cm in diameter and 10 to 20 cm in height, weighing about 2.5 kg, are produced each year.
It is a registered trademark of the Haute Maurienne Vanoise Cooperative