Affineur magic in Taste Workshops and the Market

05 August 2021

Numerous Italian and international affineurs and selectors have confirmed their presence at Cheese 2021.

This year you’ll find them at the Market, but if you want to dive deeper, there are opportunities to learn learn more in dedicated Taste Workshops.

But what exactly do affineurs and selectors do?

What affineurs do

The concept of the affineur as a profession is a relatively recent one, born in France. The affineur knows different types of cheeses, the territories and the producers who make them. Cheese is a living organism, in continuous evolution, and requires constant checks on its conservation state: the affineur knows this and works to ensure that their cheeses have the optimal conditions for aging, so they reach the table with the ideal sensory characteristics.

Grazie all’esperienza e alla conoscenza del territorio in cui opera, il selezionatore sceglie i formaggi da aziende scelte, al loro stato finale di maturazione; se necessario, li porta alla stagionatura definitiva.

France: Joseph Paccard and Reblochon – September 17

reblochon paccard affineurs
Ph. Joseph Paccard

Farmer and mountaineer Joseph Paccard stopped growing food in 1972 to dedicate his time to affinage, the art and practice of aging cheese. Eighteen years later he founded a workshop in his hometown of Manigod, Haute-Savoie. Since then, Joseph has been patiently perfecting his working methods and, as he likes to say, “aging the aging itself”. His sons Jean-François and Bertrand have since joined him to help carry forward his legacy and know-how. There’s lots on offer from Paccard’s aging cave, which you can see and taste for yourself in the market of Cheese 2021: from Farmhouse Abondance to Beaufort, and Persille des Aravis to Paccard’s flagship cheese, Reblochon, invented in the 13th century in the Thônes Valley in Haute-Savoie. Produced using the fat-rich milk of the second milking, Reblochon owes its name to the verb re-blocher which, in Savoy dialect, means to milk the cow’s udders a second time.

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Belgium: Cheese aged to perfect by Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht – September 19

Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht
Ph. Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht

Among the evergreen guests of the international market at Cheese are the Belgians of Kaasaffineurs Van Tricht, who slogan is “Cheese aged to perfection”. Curious to experiment the perfect aging, like the American astronaut Shannon Walker, who has taken Van Tricht cheeses to the International Space Station not once but twice? Then this is the workshop for you! We’ll taste a wide range of Belgian raw milk cheeses, including:

  • Blankaar, organic, white-mold cheese, West Flanders
  • Juliette, organic goat milk cheese, Limburg
  • Landloperke, cheese with vegetal rennet, Antwerp
  • Herve Le Vieux Moulin, washed-rind cheese, Liege
  • Bio Bleu Fumé, organic smoked blue, West Flanders

Book your place now!

Spain: the cheeses of Quesería Cultivo paired with Turin Vermouth – September 20

Spain Queseria Cultivo
Ph. Quesería Cultivo

In this Taste Workshop we present the cheeses of Quesería Cultivo, renowned affineur of Madrid, who ages, selects and distributes some of the finest Spanish cheeses, including Isla Corazón, Picón Bejes Tresviso DOP Javier Campo, Mahón Curado DOP Nicolás Cardona and Jondal. To pair we have a Torinese drink that’s perhaps even more popular in Spain than its homeland: Vermouth, which has had an institute dedicated to preserving it since 2017, and since 2019 a Consortium that brings together a wide range of producers as well as cultivators of medicinal herbs and bottlers… representing all the work behind this specialty recognized the world over.

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Italy: Valchiusella toma and Barolo

Toma Valchiusella affineurs
Photo: Valerie Ganio Vecchiolino

A purely Piedmontese journey among Barolo vintages and the finest toma cheeses of Valchiusella produced by small, family-run farms. Each family works exclusively with the raw milk of their own local breed cows to make toma cheeses without the use of ferments. The wide range of aromas present come from the variety of plants which the cows graze on in pastures over 2000 meters high. The Villa family has dedicated their work to the rediscovery and promotion of this dairy heritage, made even richer by the wide panorama of sensory profiles these cheeses present. To pair we have two Barolo vintages, ten years apart, from three producers: San Giovanni by Gianfranco Alessandria of Monforte, Cerequio by Michele Chiarlo of La Morra, and Bricco Sarmassa by Giacomo Brezza & Sons of Barolo itself.

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Affineurs at the market of Cheese 2021

A full list of all the affineurs and selectors present at the market of Cheese 2021 is also available, so you can do your research before arriving!

by Silvia Ceriani,