Placing the Cheese in the Cellar
Caring : Forgetting the Cheese
Caring: Turning the Cheese
Caring : Forming the Rind
Caring : Smearing
Caring : Rubbing
Caring : Transmitting the “Flowers”
Preparing the Order
The profession of cheesemonger in my opinion should actually be called ‘cheese selector-finisher.’ After choosing the right cheeses, the skills of our dairy staff is to provide painstaking care to the aging process, which magnifies the work carried out by the cheese manufacturers. Then comes the packaging and order preparation to be sent to our customers.
Son of a cheesemonger, Jean-Yves Bordier calls himself a “selector and finisher” of cheeses. He selects cheeses from quality artisans. Our team places them in our cellar either directly from the producer or thanks to expert merchants who are also longtime friends of Jean-Yves Bordier.
Aging, a step unto itself in the manufacture of a cheese, allows the cheese maturer or affineur to bring the cheeses to their best level for consumption. A true vocation!
The know-how of the cheese mature in our cellars can be summed up in four stages and six steps of care, as many gestures that require great sensitivity, listening attentively to the cheese, expertise in one’s handling and great passion. The role of a cheese maturer is to magnify the work of small, artisan producers, in other words to bring cheese to a level of maturity, a thickness, a specific suppleness and rind that we wish to offer our customers. For some cheeses like goat cheese, we offer different degrees of aging to satisfy all taste buds, as we all have different sensitivities and attractions.
1st Step: Receiving the Cheeses
Each cheese is unwrapped and weighed: on grills for cheeses with delicate surface mold, cheeses with washed rinds and goat cheeses, and on pine boards for harder rinds, either cooked or uncooked.
Jean-Yves Bordier selects his pine boards in the Jura Mountains from a logger who cuts them only at certain phases of the moon.
2nd Step: Tracing
Traceability is one of the most important steps in food safety, a subject which has been taking on more and more importance—both fortunately and unfortunately—in our gastronomic professions. It is a measure to follow or “trace” each product (manufacturing date, entry into the cellar, batch number and manufacturer number). It thus ensures total knowledge about the product’s life cycle, its production and sale. Today, this traceability is mandatory and very strict. It enables officials to isolate and destroy the faulty products in case of an alert.
3rd Step: Placing the Cheese in the Cellar
Once unwrapped, weighed and traced, the cheeses are sent to one of our 7 aging cellars where they continue to age and to express their personality. Each cellar has a specific temperature and humidity according to the family of cheeses stored in each cellar.
Our team of cheese maturers in the cellars also take daily care of the places themselves. They humidify or dry the cellars by adjusting each one’s humidity and temperature.
Step 4: Caring
Each day of the week our cheese maturers take care of our cheeses. They manage levels of fermentation, monitor the fermentation process, and provide six types of care according to the nature of their charges as well as the tasting objectives that we wish to offer our creameries. The cheeses themselves “speak” and express their needs. Our cheese maturers decode them thanks to visual aspects (color, size, appearance), their aroma, their touch (humidity and suppleness of the rind), and taste. Thus our cheese maturers are able to nuance their daily care.
First Care: Forgetting the Cheese
At first, the cheese maturers take care to let the cheeses be in their cellars to age. They taste one or two pieces from time to time to judge their level of aging and define the best moment to offer them to our customers for the best level of taste.
Second Care: Turning the Cheese
To eliminate the humidity that builds up between the pine boards and the cheeses, our team turns each cheese one by one once or twice a day.
This action enables the cheese to spread out the humidity between the rind and the inside of the product.
Step 4 : Caring
Third Care: Forming the Rind
Some cheeses need word on their rind: Swiss Gruyère cheese, aged Mimolettes and Gouda, for example.
The cheese maturer picks them up individually and brushes them, removing any impurities, including any little clumps that may form naturally in the little craters on the cheeses’ rinds. This also allows him to observe them better and to slow their aging when necessary to avoid any deep crevasses forming in the cheeses, which would ruin the rind.
According to their analysis, the cheese maturers determine which cheeses have reached their prime level of aging, and which need to stay in longer.
Step 4 : Caring
Fourth Care: Smearing
The cheese maturers rub the cheeses with a clean cotton cloth dipped in a solution that the cheese maturers prepare themselves called “the smear.” Like a sort of brine, it is made up of salt, water and/or local distilled liqueur. This action serves to modify the texture, appearance, aromas and flavors of the cheeses. The “smear” seeps into the cheese and releases its flavors inside the cheese.
Step 4 : Caring
Fifth Care: Rubbing
This action is carried out mainly on cheeses with a light dusting of mold called “flowering” in French as for St. Marcellin or Chaource cheeses.
This cheeses require a great deal of observation, touching and turning so that they do not stick to the grills on which they are placed.
Our team handles each one by one, rubs and delicately pats down the natural mold while at the same time letting each cheese breathe.
Step 4 : Caring
Sixth Care: Transmitting the “Flowers”
This step is done mainly to cheeses with natural rinds (natural cheeses, with ashes or herbs).
Our cheese maturers’ action is to master, sprinkle, transmit and develop the natural cheese flowers. The flowers are the natural and “noble” varieties of mold that are present in the cellar and which enrich the cheeses.
Then our cheese maturers transmit the flowers present in those aged the longest to the “younger” cheeses. A week or two later, small patches of mold begin forming on our young goat or ewe cheeses.
If need be, we then proceed with a drying out by ventilation of the natural rinds. All of the care brought each day of the year to our cheese by our teams is carried out by their passion.
5th Step: Preparing the Order
Each day, the orders that we receive are handled with care. Each of our customers expresses its wishes in terms of cheese aging, shape of the cut, weight of each piece, and so on. Some cheeses are booked months in advance! They are labeled with precision to guarantee their traceability. We care for each of the cheeses in our cellars to satisfy the taste buds of our customers to share in their pleasure of pure cheese enjoyment.