The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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8 months ago

Issue No. 13

A fun and festive edition: Provence, Christmas markets, brilliant book nooks in Paris, recipes, expat stories to inspire and a whole lot more - fall in love with France with us.

In the summer the cows

In the summer the cows go higher up the mountain for the fresh pastures and cool air, they’re accompanied by locals and it’s a festive atmosphere, a transhumance, like a carnival of cows and humans. The animals are moved lower down where it's warmer in the winter, again accompanied by festivities. Here they feed on the hay that the family also grow. The seasonal cheeses taste different says Rafaëlle because what the cows eat is different according to the seasons. She tells me that she started learning to make cheese when she was three years old "as soon as I was old enough to respect the rules" she smiles at the memory. A typical day for these hard working cheese makers starts at 5.00 am and ends at 6.30 pm, they are usually ready to sleep by 8.00 pm. It's hard work but grandmère and Rafaëlle say they love what they do. There are 135 farms making Reblochon in the Thones area of Haute-Savoie. The cheese has AOC status; this is the only place in the world where it can be made and called Reblochon. Here at the Ferme de Lorette, the Bibolelt family have been making it since 1919. We return to the cosy kitchen and a plate of three cheeses is placed before us, I savour a wedge of the nutty, unctuous Reblochon and grandmère urges me to try a little red wine with it. Rafaëlle and I clink glasses. The cheese is delicious, the kitchen is warm and friendly, the cows wander past the window and their bells are ringing like a fairy tale orchestra. A beam of sunlight bursts through the clouds and lights up a distant village on the mountain opposite - the colours are jewel like. "We live a simple life" says grandmère "we are not modern", as she offers me a knife to cut the rind off a piece of Tomme de Beauregard but I've already nibbled inside the wedge avoiding the rind "you look like a beaver" she laughs. I can't help asking how at almost 90 years old, she looks so young and keeps so fit. "The cheese" she says looking serious and then she laughs. "That and respect. Respect for the food you eat, respect for how you live your life... And good morals, you must have good morals.” She tells me she had 11 children and making cheese has been her life. I tell her my neighbour in the north of France is almost the same age and looks wonderful and is healthy as a donkey. "She says it is because she eats a slice of pork belly with a glass of cider every morning".

Grandmère looks astonished, her eyebrows lift into her snowy hair and she says "perhaps" in a way that makes me think she doesn't believe a word of it, her granddaughter grins. I've known these people for such a short while but they've welcomed me like a friend, made me feel at home, fed and watered me, praised my not brilliant French. It is a very special place, representative of the ethos of the mountain people and, as for the cheese – it is sublime, especially when you taste it in its natural surroundings. La Ferme de Lorette Manigod Tourist Office Tourism: thones-valsulens.com Reblochon is perfect for making tartiflette, a tasty, warming speciality of Haute-Savoie, see our fab recipe on page 118. Where to try and buy Reblochon Coopérative du reblochon “Le Farto” - Rte d’Annecy, 74230 Thônes, cheese making from Monday to Friday www. reblochon-thones.com You'll find a full range of cheeses at Fromagerie Hubert Thuet – 2 rue des vernaies – 7423 Thônes www. fromageriehubertthuet.fr Farmers cheeses and regional products at Crèmerie Perrissin-Fabert, 21 place Avet, Thônes Organic cheeses at Biomonde L’Edelweiss, 8 rue Louis Haase,Thônes www.edelweiss-biomonde-thones.fr