In the south, Roquefort, tomes and pérails:Roquefort, the “king of cheeses” is made using unpasteurised sheep’s milk and is matured in the natural cellars in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. The legend has it that a love struck shepherd left some bread and sheep’s cheese in a cave in Le Combalou to follow a shepherdess. When he came back some time later he found the bread and cheese covered in mould. He tasted the cheese and loved it. Roquefort was born.
Pérail is a round soft cheese, made from sheep’s milk. It is matured for 7 to 8 months. Cream coloured, it is tasted according to your tastes, frais (fresh/young), sec (dry/mature) or entre deux (medium). In the south Aveyron, several cellars produce it. Pérail’s reputation takes it well beyond the boundaries of the Aveyron; around one and a half tonnes are exported to Japan each year.
The Bleu des Causses :
Produced on the cliffs of the Gorges du Tarn, this blue cheese is made exclusively from unpasteurised cow’s milk. It uses the same fabrication processes at Roquefort. After many years of denigration favouring Roquefort, the Bleu des Causses received its Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in 1953
In the north, Laguiole and Ecir:
Laguiole is a cheese with a dry rind produced on the Aubrac plateau where the varied and perfumed vegetation contribute to the richness of the cow’s milk and the flavour of the cheese. The soft cheese obtained after first maturing is called “Tome Fraîche”. It is this “Tome” that is used in the composition of Aligot, a traditional Aubrac dish. The Laguiole cheeses were traditionally made in burons, stone mountain shelters that still mark the Aubrac landscape.
In 1987, a cow’s milk cheese was launched called Ecir, the name of the freezing winter wind that blows across the Aubrac creating brilliant white snow drifts. A whiteness that is found in these small round cheeses.