Reblochon is the outcome of the alchemy of nature and the exceptional know-how of Savoyard farming practices.
Since 1958, Reblochon, or Reblochon of Savoie, is recognised by an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), now known as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) at European level. In order to guarantee the provision of a genuine product to the consumer, and to preserve and pass on the ancestral practices used in producing Reblochon, the operators in the sector – milk producers, farmers, cheese makers and refiners – have registered their methods of production in the specifications underpinning the PDO.
To this end, the following criteria are defined, protected and checked:
Measures relating to the recognition, monitoring and checking of the PDO is managed by the INAO (Organisation responsible for regulating French agricultural products in terms of their Origin and Quality).
The milk used to produce Reblochon is processed whole and unpasteurised. During the whole production process, the milk does not undergo any heat treatment higher than 37°C, it is neither cooked nor pasteurised.
The cheese has a thin rind, that is yellowy-orange in colour and is covered in a thin white mould.
It has a mild, creamy inner ranging from white to ivory in colour, presenting some small holes. Its typical taste is reminiscent of cream with a slight nutty taste.
Did you know : When the milk comes out of the cow it registers a temperature of 35°C. In the production of the farm-produced Reblochon the milk is transformed into cheese directly after the milking, before it has even had time to cool down !
Reblochon is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product.
The production of this cheese is the third largest in terms of volume for Appellations of Protected Origin. Reblochon was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status in 1958.
To guarantee that an authentic product is provided to the consumer, stakeholders in the industry, milk producers, farm cheese producers, cheese makers and ripeners have agreed – over the course of the last few decades – on production methods that are stipulated in the specifications defining the PDO.
Inspections are carried out regularly internally and through an independent certifying body.
Reblochon takes the form of a flat disc measuring 13cm-14cm across and it is approximately 3.5cm thick, and weighing between 450g and 550g.
A smaller size Reblochon also exists. It measures roughly 9cm across, and weighs between 240g and 280g.
All Reblochons de Savoie clearly comply with the rules concerning Protected Designation of Origin stipulated in the PDO specifications, but there are two kinds of Reblochon, identifiable through the colour, green or red, of their casein pellet.
The casein pellet guarantees the origin of the Reblochon, it constitutes it traceability. It includes the manufacturing workshop number and the manufacturing batch identifiable through the control date of manufacture.
Did you know ? This coloured pellet is made from casein. Casein is a natural component of milk : the pellet is therefore entirely edible !
Only three cattle breeds are allowed to produce milk for Reblochon :
They are recognised for their ability to navigate mountain terrain, for their adaptation to the climate and the quality of their milk, which is ideal for cheese processing.
The feed given to cows producing milk for Reblochon is totally natural. The cows are mainly fed on grass (in the summer season) and hay from the area of the appellation (during the winter). The requirement is for them to graze in pastures for at least 150 days. Their feed is supplemented through the addition of grains (non-GMO).
The specifications strictly govern the feed given to the cows and no fermented food is allowed.
All the Reblochon production steps are defined in the specifications and they respect original, ancestral know-how. The principle underpinning the production of Reblochon has remained the same for centuries. Current technology and hygiene standards have only ensured a greater level of safety in terms of its production.
The milk curdles in less than an hour following the addition of a natural rennet. Coagulation of the milk sees it changing from a liquid to a semi-solid state. At this point we no longer talk about milk, but rather about whey.
This requires real skill to break up the curdled portion further into small pieces the size of a grain of wheat to the size of a kernel of corn
Did you know ?
In the production of farm-produced Reblochon, the cutting of the curd is carried out by the hand.
In a dairy or cheese dairy cooperative, cutting up the curds is an automated process.
The curd grains are placed into moulds. The cheese starts to take on the appearance of its ultimate shape.
Did you know ? For moulding the farm-produced Reblochon, a cloth (linen or cotton) covers the moulds in order to standardise drainage across the cheeses and to prepare the formation of the rind.
A casein pellet is placed onto every cheese. This pellet, made from a milk protein, is edible. It includes the number of the processing workshop (farmer or cheese dairy) and a batch number.
Did you know ? The green pellet for farm-produced Reblochon and the red disc for dairy-made Reblochon guarantees the origin and traceability of the Reblochon.
The cheese is pressed using a weight for a few hours. This step allows for the cheese to be drained, while the excess “whey” is also removed.
After draining, the Reblochon is soaked in a brine bath for one to two hours before being placed in a dryer and then in a cellar to begin the ripening process.
After production, the Reblochon cheeses spend about a week in a dryer. They are turned over every day, and their rind is washed before they are placed in a cellar.
The flora present in the cellars combined with the passage of time and human input serves to ripen the Reblochon.
Gradually the body of cheese lying underneath the rind starts to transform; it becomes creamier and takes on its characteristics hazelnut flavour.
The minimum ripening duration is 18 days, yet it can extend to 35-40 days for farm-produced Reblochon.
Did you know ? Each Reblochon is unique : it is the ripener's skill and know-how that gives Reblochon its incomparable taste !