They make two famous things in Laguiole (or ‘Lah-yole’ as the locals calls it): knives with a trademark bee or fly at the top of the handle and this delicious pressed cheese, made from raw whole milk of cows grazed on the basalt Aubrac Plateau in the southern Massif Central.
Gregory of Tours in the 4th century wrote about the Aubrac Plateau and its fourmes (cheeses)—as Laguiole was still called into the 20th century. Like Salers, Laguiole was traditionally made in stone mountain huts called burons. In the early 1900s, 700 tonnes of cheese were produced in 300 burons.
Even so, Laguiole nearly died out during the great rural exodus after the Second World War, only to be saved by a hard-working cooperative. The cheese is aged for at least four months, but keeps well even after ten months of maturing. Before it is aged, its hard pressed curd (Tome fraîche de l’Aubrac) is used for making aligot.
It’s been AOP since 1961.
Image by Coyau / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0