Tome des Bauges cheese
Tome des Bauges is an AOP pressed, salted cheese with surface mould made from either whole or semi-skimmed unpasteurised cows’ milk. It is cylindrical with a diameter of 18 to 20cm, 3 to 5cm in height and weighs between 1.1 and 1.4 kg when matured. It has a ridged surface with bumps and irregularities. The rind is 2 to 3mm thick, grey in colour and may have yellow to brown patches of naturally-developing mould.
The cheese is slightly firm to flexible, pale yellow in colour and may have small holes. It contains a minimum level of 45g of fat per 100g of cheese, after total desiccation and the dry matter weighs no less than 50g per 100g of cheese. Tome des Bauges may be sold in portions provided, in particular, that all portions contain the rind on all three sides.
The area covering the following municipalities:
— Municipalities in Haute-Savoie fully covered in the area: Allèves, Chapelle St Maurice (La), Chevaline, Cons Ste Colombe, Entrevernes, Gruffy, Leschaux, Quintal, St Eustache, Seythenex and Viuzla-Chiésaz.
— Municipalities partly covered in the area: Cusy, Doussard, Duingt, Faverges, Giez, Lathuile, Marlens and St-Jorioz.
— Municipalities in Savoie fully covered in the area: Aillon-le-Jeune, Aillon-le-Vieux, Allondaz, Arith, Bellecombe en Bauges, Châtelard (Le), Cléry, Compôte (La), Curienne, Déserts (Les), Doucy-en- Bauges, Ecole, Jarsy, Lescheraines, Mercury, Montcel (Le), Motte-en -Bauges La), Noyer (Le), Pallud, Plancherine, Puygros, St-François-de-Sales, St-Offenge-Dessus, St-Offenge-Dessous, Ste-Reine, Thoiry, Thuile (La), Trevignin and Verrens-Arvey.
— Municipalities partly covered in the area: Marthod, Montailleur, Pugny-Chatenod, St-Jean-d'Arvey, St Jean de la Porte, St Pierre d'Albigny and Thenesol.
Tome des Bauges cheese is named after the Alpine massif where it originates. There is evidence that tome or tomme existed in this region several centuries ago and traditional methods of producing tome in cheese-making cooperatives (local dairies) and high mountain pastures survived despite the industrial production of well-known cheeses.
The Bauges massif has a very particular topography. It is a limestone massif comprising a closed valley surrounded by high cliffs on the edges. The area features pasture land, even at altitude, and has a mountain climate, with heavy rainfall throughout the year and very low temperatures during the winter. The combination of geography and climate affords the area great potential to produce fodder and favours a wealth of varied, local flora.
Milk intended for the production of Tome des Bauges has a rather high pH level, which led cheese producers to use mature milk. This technique of slow lactic acidification particularly favours the action of endogenous milk flora. The diversity of flora in the massif and the milk maturing practices required due to the acidity of the milk have combined to produce a cheese with a distinctive character. The conditions to produce the AOP have been defined in order to maintain the local and traditional practices and for these factors to be brought out in the product.
The milk must come from herds of dairy cows of the ‘abondance’, ‘tarine’ or ‘montbéliarde’ breeds, and specimen of the ‘abondance’ and ‘tarine’ breeds must constitute at least 50 % of the herd. Moreover, the milk must come from herds that weigh an average of no more than 5 500 kg per lactating cow per year. The staple feed of the herd is pasture grass during the summer period, for at least 120 days, and a constant supply of hay during the winter period. The level of dry fodder from outside of the geographical area is authorised to supplement local resources up to a maximum of 30 % of the farm's annual requirements for the whole herd. This supplement may contain packed dried alfalfa up to a maximum of 3kg per cow per day. Fodder preserved by silaging techniques, wrapping or any other process involving fermentation is not authorised. The use of additional fodder is limited and must not contain either urea or aromatising molecules. The production site and associates facilities must not contain any system or equipment to rapidly heat milk to over 40 °C before renneting.
The milk is collected from an area within 15km of the production site. The milk used is raw and whole. Milk for maturing may be semi-skimmed. This milk must be worked once a day. The milk may not be either physically or chemically treated in any way, except to semi-skim and filter out macroscopic impurities. The addition of protein or fat is not authorised. The only authorised processing aids are salt, rennet and starter cultures obtained from traditional culture methods. Direct seeding cultures may only be used as a back-up. The milk enters the production process within a minimum of 12 hours after traditional practice of keeping milk at a temperature of over 10 °C, or within a maximum of 28 hours where the milk is chilled to a temperature of between 6 °C and 10 °C, in which case the milk may not have undergone more than two consecutive treatments.
Renneting is carried out at a temperature of between 32° C and 35 °C. Production is carried out in an open copper vat with a maximum capacity of 3 000 litres. After draining, the curds are the size of a kernel of maize. The curds are then heated to a temperature of between 35 °C and 40 °C. Neither the removal of lactose nor the addition of water is authorised. The cheese is moulded either manually or by gravity. Neither extraction using a curd pump nor the use of micro-perforated moulds is authorised. The cheeses are pressed by stacking for a minimum of 7 hours, during which time they are turned at least four times. The cheeses are dry salted manually and dairy cheeses may be placed in brine. The cheeses are then matured for at least five weeks from the date of renneting. They are stored at a temperature no less than 4 °C.
Reference: The European Commission
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