While we experience a bit of growth in the artisan and farmstead market in the US, France has been losing traditional cheeses at a rather alarming pace. Here’s the story of one such plight:
“The plight of the ancient blue-veined cheese from the central Loire department has become a symbol of an ill gnawing at the heart of traditional cheese-making in France, says one of the sector’s most vocal guardians.
Produced since the Middle Ages, fourme de Montbrison is made from cow’s milk and
is very good for fondues and raclettes. The hardiness of the mountain area between St-Etienne and Clermont-Ferrand, with its baking summers and bitterly cold winters, contributes to the cheese’s unique flavour.
Made into tall, cylindrical blocks, fourme de Montbrison has a characteristic orange-brown rind – a natural die from spruce wood – and a cream-coloured pâté, marbled with greyish-blue streaks. With a musty scent and dry taste, it is among the mildest of France’s blue cheeses.
But last year, one of the cheese’s largest makers closed, leaving only three, including just one farmer-producer. Sounding the alarm, France’s professional federation of cheese-makers has launched a campaign to help save the threatened delicacy.”