The cheese of the Abbaye de Tamié is made by the Trappist monks of the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Tamié since 1132. This one is located near Albertville, in the Bauges massif, in Savoie.
This cheese has a wheel shape, weighing approximately 1,500 kg and containing 51% fat. The cheese has a pressed uncooked paste made from raw whole cow's milk, which gives it a rather soft consistency. It is easily recognized by its orange rind covered with a fine white down. For its maturing, it will spend 4 weeks in the abbey's humid cellars.
The cheese truck collects daily the milk of cows from the 8 farms in the Tamié valley. Particular attention is paid to milk quality. The cheese dairy and the producers have been working together for many years in order to meet the bacteriological quality standards in force on the one hand, and on the other, everything that can contribute to the particularity of a typical product.
Sustainable agriculture based on pasture in summer and hay in winter, excluding all forms of silage, contributes greatly to the cheese quality of milk. Many farmers grow their own cereals (wheat, barley) for the herd's winter feed. A good milking hygiene allows to preserve the raw material of any contamination in pathogenic germs while preserving the original flora of the milk resulting from its alpine environment. The milk is collected every day to keep it as fresh as possible.
The milk does not undergo any treatment before manufacture: neither pasteurization nor skimming. The cheese of Tamié thus breathes the natural and authentic perfume of the alpine pastures.
In a copper vat, the raw whole milk is heated to 34 °C. In order to control acidification and cheese production, lactic ferments grown on site are added to the milk. A long maturation of 90 minutes thus prepares it for coagulation. The addition of rennet (a natural substance found in the calves' clot) allows coagulum (milk transformed into gel) to be obtained in a few minutes.
When this gel is firm enough, the curd is cut with the "curd slice" (tool with spaced wires) and causes the curd and whey (or "whey") to separate. The time and speed of decaillage allows you to adjust the size of the grain (about the size of a pea). After cutting, the resulting mixture is stirred in the tank until the grain is sufficiently drained.
The mixture is then sent into a moulder. This separates the whey from the curd and transforms it into cylindrical ""bread"" the size of moulds with a multitude of microperforations.
The moulds will evacuate the remaining ""whey"" during pressing. The cheeses are automatically placed in moulds after the lids have been placed and mechanically pressed for 3 to 4 hours.
The curd grains are pressed gradually, allowing them to weld together until a homogeneous paste is obtained. During this time, the room is kept at a good temperature to ensure the work of the ferments and finish the draining correctly.
Once the pressing time is over, the cheeses are taken out of the moulds and placed on shelves. Salting is done by immersion in a salted water bath for 1 to 3 h depending on the format. Salting has several functions:
- participation in the taste of cheese,
- crust formation: preservative against certain microorganisms.
The cheeses are then ready to enter the cellar where they will mature according to a recipe handed down through generations of monks.
The cheeses are matured in the vaulted cellars of the Abbey where the temperature is maintained at 14 °C, with a high humidity. They will be treated manually every two days. To maintain the crusting and promote the development of the surface flora, the cheeses are first bathed in brine, then rubbed and turned regularly to reach maturity. The flora is naturally present in the cellar. It is the oldest cheeses that sow the freshest.