Located outside the town of Manigod in the Savoie region of France, the Burgat Family Farm is made up of two houses. One located at lower elevations near Manigod for the winter time and one higher into the mountains closer to the Summer pastures for their herd of dairy cows. It is here that Guillaume and Murielle raise their two boys Rémi and Andréa, and where Guillaume looks after the herd and Murielle makes cheese, following local tradition. The family produces the famous regional cheeses, Tomme Fermier and Reblochon as well as Tomme de Manigodine for the American market.
“Manigodine” translates to “the woman of Manigod,” a name that pays homage to the tradition of women as the cheese makers in this part of France. It is basically a large format Reblochon that can be aged longer in order to meet U.S. regulations for raw milk cheeses. Raw milk Reblochon is not allowed into the United States since it is aged for less than 60 days. Tomme de Manigodine is made by hand by first heating the morning’s milk in a large cauldron in the cheesemaking room off of the Burgat’s kitchen. Starter culture and animal rennet are added to the heated milk, and the mixture is left to coagulate and ripen.
After a few hours, Murielle takes a plastic scoop and begins breaking the curds up before using a cheese harp or cutter to divide the curds into smaller, more uniform sizes. She then gently ladles the curds into molds lined with cheesecloth. The curds are pressed by hand into the molds and left to drain overnight.
Once drained and able to maintain their shape, the cheeses are salted and placed in the family’s small aging cave to mature a little before being shipped to Fromagerie Joseph Paccard for further aging. At Joseph Paccard, the cheeses are washed in a brine solution an then aged for up to 8 weeks before release for sale.