7 Cheese to Try in the French Alps

When the Alps are mentioned, cattle breeding comes to mind. The livestock brings unlimited types of products to the deli shelves. But today, we will talk about flavour-bomb cheeses made from sheep, goat, and cow milk. 

Beaufort

Beaufort is a firm, raw cow’s milk cheese associated with the gruyère family. This Alpine cheese is produced in Beaufortain, Tarentaise valley and Maurienne, located in the Savoie region of the French Alps. The taste of the cheese depended on the season when the cheese was made. Cows eat differently depending on seasons, which creates a distinction between the flavour of cheeses.

Tomme de Savoie

Tomme de Savoie is an upland variety of Tomme cheese, precisely one from Savoy in the French Alps. It is a mild, semi-firm cow’s milk cheese with a beige interior and a thick brownish-grey rind. This cheese dates back to ancient times and pairs best with medium-bodied red wines from Côtes du Rhône, sausages, fruits and bread.

Reblochon

Reblochon AOC is a semi-soft, washed-rind and smear-ripened mountain cheese that originated at the heart of the massif des Aravis, in the Thônes region of Haute-Savoie in France. The cheese was decreed as an AOC cheese in 1958 and is subject to strict rules and regulations. Reblochon features a delicate, velvety rind, varying from yellow to orange. The close textured pate is very smooth, supple and ivory in colour.

Bleu de Bonneval

You can find blue cheeses in many places, but this one is made from a traditional recipe and in the heart of the Alpine mountains. This blue cheese of the town of Bonneval-sur-Arc is made with raw milk. Underneath its thin rind, the texture is creamy and somewhere between firm and gooey, with blue veins running throughout the paste.

Raclette

The name Raclette comes from the French word “racler”, meaning “to scrap”. Raclette cheese has a thin, brownish-orange rind and a pale-yellow pate with a few scattered open holes. It has a distinctive pleasant, aromatic smell with a creamy texture, similar to Gruyere cheeses, which do not separate even when melted. 

Goat cheeses

Mountain goats from the Alps live in the mountains, breathe fresh air, and eat grass and the plentiful variety of wildflowers. Local farmers make goat cheeses; you may try them at local stores. 

Sheep cheeses

They are a little more firmer than other cheeses and can be grated on top of pasta or other dishes, similar to Parmesan.

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7 Flowers You May See in the French Alps

As we usually say, the French Alps are full of colourful surprises. The best-smelling of all these colourful surprises is the flowers! As steep alpine pastures are unsuitable for intensive agriculture, they are saved from chemical fertilisers, weed killers, and insecticides, which helped the mountains maintain the great diversity of plants and flowers.

Alpine plants have adapted themselves to the harsh environment and extreme weather conditions. July might be the best time to explore the alpine flowers due to warmer weather and the opportunity to walk for long hours in the daylight.

Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum)

The unique furry petals and leaves of the Edelweiss are distinctive. And its white colour symbolises purity and innocence.

Androsace des Alpes (Androsace alpina)

Also known as Alpine Rock-Jasmine, this precious flower can be found on the rocks and is a survivor as being one of the few plants in the Alps to grow above 4000 metres.

Soldanelle (Soldanella alpina)

This flower is the Jewel of the Alps with its delicate, heavily fringed violet bells and round, shiny and leathery dark green leaves

Aster des Alpes (Aster Alpinus)

This fully frost-hardy flower looks like large daisies with blue-violet rays and golden-yellow centres. Their eye-catching blossoms are attractive to butterflies.

Gentiane acaule (Gentiana acaulis)

This much-loved, dwarf, blue-flowered, alpine plant grows to only 4” tall but forms a spreading ground cover-like carpet to 6” wide or more.

Silene (Silene alpestris)

This evergreen perennial that spreads into a short but wide mat produces small white flowers in spring and summer.

Carline (Carlina acaulis)

This stemless flower takes its name after Charlemagne searched for treatment against the plague. An angel told him to shoot an arrow in the sky and see what plant the hand would hit. This plant would bring relief to the epidemic. The plant the arrow hit was the Carlina acaulis. The plant was distributed among the community, and the plague diminished.