The story of Beillevaire started in 1980 when Pascal Beillevaire decided to combine his two passions of agriculture and trade through La Fromagerie Beillevaire. It all started with a roadside produce stand at the family farm where they also sold homemade butter and cream. Thirty years later, it is a company with a unique structure that encompasses all aspects of cheese making, affinage, and procurement. From the onset, the company’s commitment to tradition and quality set them apart in promoting a large and diverse range of farmhouse and artisan cheeses.
In 2015, Beillevaire and other respected affineurs and producers were placed on FDA hold and were not allowed into the country. These producers were casualties of failed testing at the point of entry. It was sort of a lost-in-translation situation combined with our FDA’s new and very strict guidelines. The heartbreak was not just in missing out on these delicacies, but also financially. Since then, all of the Beillevaire facilities have been upgraded. The FDA spent days auditing their facilities in France and after five shipments that passed inspection, the process to return to the US had begun. Yeah!
Great Ciao inventories select cheeses from Beillevaire, as well as offering a preorder program for those delicate & perishable cheeses. The latter are made to order! Regular inventory includes sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheeses like these:
Carles Roquefort comes from the smallest producer able to export and is the only Roquefort inoculated the original way using culture from molded rye bread. This allows the process to take longer, allowing the cheese to develop deeper flavors prior to the bloom. This raw sheep milk blue is classically paired with sweet fortified wines like Sauternes.
Comte is aged 24 months in Beillevaire’s own aging caves located in Vieu-d’Izenave where the wheels are still turned by hand. Always made with raw cow’s milk, this is one of the most ancient cheeses on record. Tasting notes encompass classic alpine flavors and texture, a bit floral with a touch of onion on the finish, just perfect for snacking or melting.
Fleur de Re Cendre is a little heartbreaker. A goat’s milk cheese that’s coated made in the Loire Valley region, it is dusted with ash giving a unique look to the rind. The fudgy, cake-like round is salted with famed Il de Re salt. FDR screams for Champagne or Sancerre wines.
Ossau Iraty is another ancient, famous cheese named for two neighboring villages where it is made in the Pyrenees. In they’re their own cellars located in Bearn, Beillevaire ages wheels purchased from a small and limited number of farmers just days after they’re produced. Made with raw sheep’s milk and a natural rind, it has deep, graceful flavors and a long finish. Excellent with red wines like Pinot Noir…who doesn’t love Burgundy?