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The Cheeses of Jean Perrin
In the Jura Region Even Cheese Ages in Wood
By André Gayot

Are the savor and taste of cheese compatible with the pasteurization of milk? Does not the high temperature annihilate the very bacteria that eventually give a specific taste to certain cheese? The question has been much debated, and the battle is fierce between the two camps, generating waves all the way up to government levels worldwide. Australia, for instance, has banned all non-pasteurized cheeses, while the U.S. and the European Union have different approaches to raw milk.

In a recent tasting, we were impressed by the high quality and gustatory qualities of new (at least on the American market) pasteurized cheese from France. Although the milk used to make them had gone through the heating process, the experts that sampled them found the specialties of Jean Perrin particularly tasty.

Tasters distinguished in particular "Ecorce de Sapin," which is still prepared in the way of a cottage industry. Cheeses age in moulds kept at an altitude of approximately 3,000 feet in the mountains of Jura*. They are afterwards circled with a round of fir tree bark and then finished off in a cellar that maintains a constant temperature. They have a slightly wooden taste.

 


L'Edel de Cléron, exclusive to Jean Perrin, reflects the typically rich accent of the Franche Comté area near Switzerland. (By the way, Louis Pasteur, who invented the pasteurization process, was born in nearby Dole de Jura.) Cheeses are kept for three weeks in mountain vaults. Then they are wrapped in a circle of spruce bark and finished in a wooden round box. This spruce circling, an old Jura tradition, is performed by skilled woodchoppers called "sangliers." The taste is soft and creamy with a wooden touch. These cheeses can be baked in the oven with potatoes or vegetables.

Along with the above unique specialties, as well as some others such as "Fromage des Clarines", "Exqui Lor" and "Saint Vernier", Jean Perrin produces in a more industrial fashion the typical cheeses of the region such as Morbier, Raclette, Comté and Tome. The production is monitored by a centralized technical management system on a computer network. The automated line, however, enables the cheese makers to use their traditional know-how. Indeed, the cheese maker uses the technique to infuse his savoir-faire into the process.

Jean Perrin
BP 14
F-25330
Phone from the U.S.: 011-333-81-62-41-41
Email: perrin@jean-perrin.com

One can watch the cheese making from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., as well as a film at Zone Artisanale. There is also a restaurant (open for lunch only) and a store.

Zone Artisanale
25330 Cléron
Phone from the US: 011-333-81-62-41-51
Fax: 011-333-81-62-41-59
www.hameaudufromage.com

* The Jura region of France is located south of Alsace-Lorraine and borders Switzerland in the east. The mountains of Jura were formed in the secondary age, which is more commonly described as the Jurassic age.


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