The history of a cheese

As in all highlands, the Aubrac Plateau's farmers could not have settled down and survived without cattle, which provided labour, fertiliser and food, producing milk, cheese and meat.

But milk was a seasonal product: cows could be milked at the same time they fed their calves only when the Aubrac Plateau's vegetation was lush. Besides, milk could be kept for only a limited period of time. That explains why the mountain breeders invented Laguiole cheese: to preserve the milk and consume it later.

As time went by, preparation practices and know-how, carefully handed down from one generation to the next, improved and enabled the cheese to keep longer. Laguiole gradually became famous as a unique cheese that ages well.

In the mid-20th century the issue of survival on the Aubrac Plateau, which is how Laguiole began, arose in different terms: what should be the response to the decline of traditional production, a serious threat to the dairy industry and to the region?

André Valadier guided Aubrac Mountain's revival, shepherding Laguiole's transition from a subsistence food to a national product with deep local roots.