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Making Traditional Saint Nectaire

Making Traditional Saint Nectaire

This article details how Saint Nectaire is traditionally made in the Auvergne

The farms where the cheese is made are either high on the plateau with the summer herds and their pastures or clustered in small village where there may be several cheese makers and separate operations. The herds in the villages are housed in barns within the village and the cows simply let out of the village into the pastures which surrounds them. Yes a very beautiful place.

These are very people that are very proud of their agricultural heritage, enough to have kept the instruments used to make their cheese from the past as shown in the picture to the right,

There are many signs indicating where the work is being done and if you ask nicely and keep your distance they are happy to let you watch and perhaps answer a few questions if you understand the language.

The curds are packed into molds, pressed briefly (pre-press), then wrapped in cloth, salted, and pressed again before the final cheese.

On the farm this is all hand work with raw milk and has not changed much over the past several hundred years except for a better press and a kettle heated with gas these days rather than wood.

The aging of the cheese is also done on the farms as they have been done for centuries.

Some are just dug holes with doors in the hills sides others are a bit larger and just as simple and primitive. Some are overgrown and no longer used.

Even the transport from the making room to the aging cave is people powered on the small farms note the wheel barrow with the last few days of cheese ready to be transported to again. Still a single wheel and two handles.

Even the conditions in the caves had not changed until recently. They have in the past used woven mats of rye straw.

It has been found that Rye seems to have the ability to control the molds they want vs those they don't.