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Agriculture and Beaufort PDO

Mountain farming requires a special know-how. The maintenance of meadows, mountain pastures, milking cows at high altitude, cheesemaking … Agriculture is still very present in Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Go and meet the farmers, the herds in the mountain pastures and taste quality products made by passionate mountain people.

And who says good products says gastronomy! Sewn ham from Bessans, trout from Sollières with blue cheese from Bonneval sur Arc, blueberries from Mont-Cenis, raspberries and wild strawberries, goat’s cheese from Aussois, sheep’s cheese from Sollières, mountain honeys, beer from Oé and the Vanoise springs… so many recipes to try, to share with family and friends!

In the last century, few families didn’t have animals, cows, goats or sheep. Today, there are still many farmers and most of them supply the milk used to make the prince of Gruyère cheese, “Beaufort”, PDO since 1968, but also Bleu de Bonneval sur Arc, butter and yoghurts that you will find in the sales outlets of the Haute Maurienne Vanoise Dairy Cooperative.

The herds of sheep and cows graze at high altitude all summer long and thus contribute to the maintenance of the landscape. Several mountain pasture farms welcome you and let you discover their life, hard but beautiful, their products of which they are proud. They are happy to tell you about their work, milking, haymaking, calving, patous, wolves.

Coopérative laitière Haute Maurienne Vanoise

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 Coopérative Laitière de Haute-Maurienne Vanoise.

Today, it is owned by 40 farmers. They entrust the collection, processing, maturing and marketing of their milk in Beaufort PDO, Bleu de Bonneval-sur-Arc to qualified professionals, employees of their cooperative.

Located in Val Cenis Lanslebourg, take advantage of your stay to visit the cooperative, the maturing cellars and watch the production of Beaufort in the morning. A sensory experience to be lived as a family!

Reservation for the visit

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The point of sale in Bessans

Do you miss Haute Maurienne and its culinary wealth?

From home, place an order via the Terroir de Maurienne platform and receive the good products you have enjoyed and tasted during your holidays 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 showcase their products in a short circuit. An ethical charter common to all the members of the project guarantees that production is carried out according to the rules and with respect for the environment and the territory.

Passionate men and women

Vast and numerous in Haute Maurienne Vanoise,

From June to September, the mountain pastures are home to cows, goats, sheep and ewes that produce high quality milk from 1,800 to 2,500 metres above sea level to the foot of the glaciers. This milk is then quickly transformed into cheese by the alpacists.

Cheese making consists of 8 stages: 

  • Storage of the milk for a limited time
  • Maturation of milk with ferments to develop lactic acid bacteria
  • Renneting and curdling, which changes the milk from a liquid to a solid state.
  • Scaling to separate solid matter from whey
  • Stirring and heating to drain the curd grains
  • Moulding in a curd grain shape
  • Pressing and turning evacuate the serum from the cheese.
  • Salting in brine or with dry salt
  • Refining, a crucial stage that gives the products their character

The cows :

The Tarine has a uniformly fawn brown coat, black mucous membranes, a muzzle and a black eye area as well. Its lyre-shaped horns are white with a black tip. 1.30 m at the withers for 600 to 800 kg.

Abondance has a mahogany red robe, matching “glasses”, a mask, a belly, a tail and the tips of white paws. 1.30 m at the withers for 600 to 700 kg.

These are hardy breeds that make them good walkers, strong and robust.

The sheeps

are often Thones and Marthod, spiral horns, white dress, black muzzle and “glasses”. Their main quality is their resistance. They spend 3 to 4 months in full freedom in the highest pastures and are the best allies in the maintenance of the landscape and the pastures.

The goats

are most often of the Alpina breed whose origin is Savoyard. She is easily recognizable by her buff-colored dress. Stocky and solid animal, it offers good dairy qualities and a great sense of adaptation to the altitude and its sometimes difficult climatic conditions.

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The cheeses

The Beaufort

also called “Prince des gruyères” is produced from raw whole milk. Since 1968, it has had an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (Controlled Designation of Origin) which imposes very strict specifications, including regular checks on milk producers and a minimum 5-month ripening period.
It comes in the form of a wheel weighing around 40 kg, 11 to 16 cm high and 35 to 75 cm in diameter with a concave heel. Its paste is smooth, ivory to paste-yellow in colour, firm at first onset in the mouth and then melting.
11,000 Beaufort wheels are produced each year by the Coopérative de Haute Maurienne Vanoise. Each of them is made on site at Val Cenis Lanslebourg with the 5 million litres of milk collected annually from Modane to Bonneval sur Arc. Beaufort d’alpage, Beaufort d’été and Beaufort d’hiver delight the taste buds of the finest gourmets!

The Blue of Bonneval sur Arc

both firm and creamy, is an original product made from the milk of cows fed on mountain pastures. The maturing in the cellars, at least 3 months, gives it an incomparable taste, freshness and character of the high mountains. 30,000 pieces with a diameter of 20 cm and a height of 10 to 20 cm and a weight of about 2.5 kg are produced every year. It is a registered trademark of the Coopérative de Haute Maurienne Vanoise.

The blue of Termignon

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 over 2,500 m during the summer months. It takes the form of a cylinder weighing around 30 kg, 30 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height. It is prepared from a sour curd mixed with a curd of the day and is matured for 4 to 5 months.

Meetings and know-how

Here, in the heart of Savoie, mountains and agriculture merge. Men and animals share the great outdoors to give the best of themselves.

Listen to the sound of the bells, discover the landscapes and mountain pasture farms, taste exceptional products, get closer to nature…