A schedule of resources

"For the cheese to be good in its rind, the milk must be good in its udder; for the milk to be good in its udder, the cow must feel good in her setting; for the cow to feel good in her setting, she must feel good in her pasture or on her mountain, which is always in the farmer's hands." André Valadier



Instead of "schedule of specifications", association president André Valadier prefers "schedule of resources", which better expresses how much working with the terroir's specific conditions is not a drawback but an asset, the very essence of the terroir.

Developing the product means drawing from what makes the land, respecting what it has done for centuries and ensuring coherence between genetics and the natural environment. The schedule of resources is the guide for making the product but also, through their interdependence, for defending the land. The land creates the product and the product creates the land.



Product description

Laguiole is a cylindrically shaped, dry-rind, pressed, uncooked cow's milk cheese containing a minimum of 45 grams of fat for 100 grams of cheese after complete desiccation. The dry matter content must not be less than 58 grams for 100 grams of cheese.

Laguiole has the shape of a cylinder whose height is slighter greater than or equal to its diameter of 30 to 40 centimetres and weighs 25 to 50 kilograms. The whitish to light orange rind turns amber brown in the course of ageing. The colour of the cheese ranges from ivory to straw yellow.

 It is the result of a long ageing period in a cold, damp cellar whose success depends on special production technology (including double draining in the cheese-press and mould in order to strengthen the dry matter) and continuous care.

Its terroir is limited to 60 Aubrac towns straddling three departments: Aveyron, Cantal and Lozère.


Simmental cows in the stable
Simmental cows in the stable

After the decline, renewal

Milk is collected from 75 farmers every day. The Jeune Montagne cooperative makes nearly all of the 700 tons of cheese produced a year, with two AOP farm producers accounting for the rest. That is not much compared to other AOP cheeses; the specifications are a brake but have many positive effects.

 Every year 15 million litres of milk become aged Laguiole or fresh tome, the first step in the cheese-making process, which is used in the recipe for Aubrac aligot. An emblematic dish, it has become an economic engine for the Jeune Montagne company and tourism throughout Aubrac thanks to local restaurateurs,  Michel and Sébastien Bras first among them.


Having a lie-down
Having a lie-down

The appellation d’origine decree defines the collection area, which overlaps three departments in three regions: Aveyron (Midi-Pyrénées region), Lozère (Languedoc-Roussillon) and Cantal (Auvergne region). The division attests that Aubrac, geographically and geologically well defined by the high basalt and granite plateau, is at the crossroads of larger areas. The collection area covers 200,000 hectares (which is small, compared to the 600,000 hectares for Cantal AOP, for example).

List of towns

Department of Aveyron (Midi-Pyrénées)

Alpuech, Aurelle-Verlac, Campouriez, Cantoin, Cassuéjouls, Castelnau-de-Mandailles, Le Cayrol, Condom-d'Aubrac, Coubisou, Curières, Entraygues-sur-Truyère (right bank of the Lot and left bank of the Truyère upstream from the Lot–Truyère confluence), Espalion (right bank of the Lot), Estaing, Florentin-la-Capelle, Graissac, Huparlac, Lacalm, Laguiole, Montézic, Montpeyroux, Le Nayrac, Pomayrols, Prades-d'Aubrac, Saint-Amans-des-Cots, Saint-Chély-d'Aubrac, Saint-Côme-d'Olt (right bank of the Lot), Saint-Geniez-d'Olt (right bank of the Lot), Saint-Laurent-d'Olt (right bank of the Lot), Saint-Symphorien-de-Thénières, Sainte-Eulalie-d'Olt (right bank of the Lot), Sainte-Geneviève-sur-Argence, Soulages-Bonneval, La Terrisse, Vitrac-en-Viadène.


Department of Cantal (Auvergne)

 Anterrieux, Chaudes-Aigues, Deux-Verges, Espinasse, Fridefont, Jabrun, Lieutadès, Maurines, Saint-Martial, Saint-Rémy-de-Chaudes-Aigues, Saint-Urcize, La Trinitat.


Department of Lozère (Languedoc-Roussillon)

 Aumont-Aubrac, Banassac (right bank of the Lot), Les Bessons, Brion, Canilhac (right bank of the Lot), Chauchailles, La Chaze-de-Peyre, La Fage-Montivernoux, La Fage-Saint-Julien, Fau-de-Peyre, Fournels, Grandvals, Les Hermaux, Malbouzon, Marchastel, Nasbinals, Noalhac, Prinsuéjols, Recoules-d'Aubrac, Saint-Germain-du-Teil, Saint-Laurent-de-Muret, Saint-Laurent-de-Veyrès, Saint-Pierre-de-Nogaret, Sainte-Colombe-de-Peyre, Les Salces, Termes, Trélans.



The schedule of specifications in brief 1/2

Aubrac and Simmental are rustic dairy breeds suited to the local climate and elevation. Average production is limited to 6,000 litres of milk per cow per year.



The cows feed exclusively on pasture grass and hay. All the hay comes from the natural appellation area. In summer they must spend at least 120 days in the pasture.

All the fodder must come from meadow grass in the geographical area; any kind of silage is forbidden.



Concentrates are limited to 6 kg per cow per day and their composition is regulated. The authorised ingredients are grain (wheat, barley, maize, triticale, etc.), oilcake (non-GM and untreated rapeseed, sunflower, peanut and soy), dried alfalfa, vitamins and minerals. Anything else, including additives to change the milk's composition, is prohibited.


The bull stamp and identification plaques
The bull stamp and identification plaques

The schedule of specifications in brief 2/2

Milk collection

The milk is collected and the cheese made 365 days a year.


The milk used is raw, whole, non-normalised (heat treatment is prohibited) and non-standardised in terms of fat content. Working in vats

Cheesemakers work the cheese by hand in vats specific for that purpose. The main steps are curdling; stirring; letting the curd rest; skimming of the whey; and covering. Pressing the fresh tome The fresh tome is hand-pressed in cloth and left to mature at least 12 hours.


Stamping the cheese
Stamping the cheese

Moulding the cheese

The cheese is shaped in a two-step process: first it is blended and salted, some time given for the salt to set; then it is put into moulds and vertically pressed.

 The AOP decree defines the marking; it is inalienable. Each round must be stamped on one of its flat sides with the village of Laguiole's name and symbol, a bull. To comply with the general regulation on cheese, it also bears a plaque identifying the workshop, milk and product.


Ageing in cellars

In the cellar, the cheese is rubbed and turned over by hand. It is kept there four to 18 months; the average span is eight months. Bores are inserted to monitor bacterial interactions during the ageing process, depending on the season when the raw milk is produced. .


Checking cheese with a bore
Checking cheese with a bore

Checked at every level

The Laguiole AOP association has set up an inspection plan, supervised and validated by the INAO, of the entire process, from farmer to finished product, to guarantee the quality of Laguiole AOP cheese. Inspections take place at every level.

Production :

a) Milk producers :

  • The Laguiole AOP Defence and Management Organisation (ODG) inspects 50% each year ;
  • An INAO-approved outside organisation inspects 10% each year.

b) Farm producers:

  • The Laguiole AOP Defence and Management Organisation (ODG) inspects 50% each year ;
  • An INAO-approved outside organisation inspects 50% each year.

c) Cheesemakers :

  • The Laguiole AOP Defence and Management Organisation (ODG) inspects 100% each year ;
  • An INAO-approved outside organisation inspects 100% each year.

The initial approval of all new producers is internally and externally monitored automatically.

Quality: A Laguiole AOP "product approval" commission made up of users (restaurateurs, consumers, etc.), technicians (cheese-makers, etc.) and "memory carriers" (active or retired producers, etc.) meets on a regular basis to perform an organoleptic examination of Laguiole AOP cheese and ensure it belongs to the appellation. The inspections take place as follows :

a) Farm producers :

  • Physiochemical characteristics: 2 analyses/year ;
  • Organoleptic characteristics: 1 organoleptic analysis/year/farm producer.

b) Cheesemakers :

  • Physiochemical characteristics: 16 analyses/year ;
  • Organoleptic characteristics: 16 organoleptic analyses/year

The Laguiole Association: An INAO-approved outside body inspects the Laguiole AOP Defence and Management Organisation twice a year.

The Laguiole AOP association itself established this strong pressure at every level of production in order to ensure the quality of Laguiole AOP cheese.