Roquefort cheese is given its special flavour by the fungus, penicillium roqueforti, that grows exclusively in the fissures in the rocks in the surrounding valley. While the sheep’s milk used to make the cheese comes from different flocks and dairies as far afield as the Pyrenees, the crucial fungus is grown right here, on bread. Just 2g of powdered fungus is enough for 4000 litres of milk, which in turn makes 330 Roquefort cheeses; they are matured in Roquefort’s many-layered cellars, first unwrapped for three weeks and then wrapped up again. It takes three to six months for the full flavour to develop.
If you want to find out more, you can visit a few cheese manufacturers in the area. Visits, which start with a short film, followed by a tour of the cellars and a tasting, are free.
Gabriel Coulet wgabriel-coulet.fr.