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Beaufort (Municipality, Savoie, France)

Last modified: 2021-07-10 by ivan sache
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Flag of Beaufort - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 10 September 2020

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Presentation of Beaufort

The municipality of Beaufort (locally, Beaufort-sur-Doron; 2,051 inhabitants in 2018; 14,953 ha) is the capital and namesake of Beaufortain, and of Beaufort cheese, as well.

Beaufort cheese ( website), which was granted a designation of protected origin on 4 April 1968, is produced on a vast area including the valleys of Beaufortin and Tarentaise and a part of the Val d'Arly. Cheese must be produced with milk from the local Tarine (Tarentaise) and Abondance cow breeds, with a limitation to 5,000 L milk per year, that is, 16 L per animal. Cows are nearly exclusively fed on mountain pastures and with hay harvested in the production area.
In 2020, the production of Beaufort (5,400 ton) involved 390 milk farms (17,000 cows; 750 jobs) and 33 cheese-producing workshops (250 jobs, sales included).
Rounds shall have standard dimensions (35 to 75 com in diameter, average 54 cm; 11 to 16 cm in height) and an average weight of 40 kg. They are easily recognized by their concave rim, obtained using a wooden circle, and very specific taste and flavor.

"Basic" Beaufort, the sweetest variety, is produced from November to May, when cows are in the valleys, mostly fed with hay. Production in 2020 amounted to 65,650 rounds.
Summer Beaufort is produced from 1 June to 31 October when cows graze in mountain pastures, rich in some 130 plant species per square meter; accordingly, the cheese is more colored and fruity. Production in 2020 amounted to 52,400 rounds.
Mountain Hut Beaufort, limited to less than 10,000 rounds per year, is produced for only 100 days, from June to October; cheese has to be processed in mountain huts, at elevation higher than 1,500 m, twice a day according to traditional methods, using milk freshly obtained from a single herd. It has even more pronounced characteristics than Summer Beaufort.
In all cases, the minimum duration of maturing is five months.

Ivan Sache, 29 April 2021

Flag of Beaufort

The flag of Beaufort (photo) is white with the municipal arms, "Azure three towers argent masoned sable 1 and 2".
The towers recall the castle of Beaufort (12th century), whose remains stand two kilometers north-west of the village, at the top of the Vanches hill, overlooking the confluence of the Doron and Dorinet rivers, at an altitude of 997 meters.

The Beaufort family was first mentioned in the 10th century, when Bernard of Beaufort expelled the Saracens from the region. His grandson fortified the Vanches hill in the 11th century and erected a square keep.
In the 13th century, the lords of Beaufort became vassals of the Counts of Faucigny; in 1271, they sold a part of the fortress to Beatrix of Faucigny (1234-1310), the daughter of Count of Savoy Peter II (1203-1268) and widow of Dauphin Guigues VII (1125/1229-1269). In 1277, they were allowed to build a new fortress on a neighboring hill.
Guigues VIII (1309-1333) established a garrison in the castle, increased its defence and added a round tower; this Dauphiné outpost within Savoy became a bone of contention and caused several war episodes.
In 1359, following the "transport" (incorporation) of Dauphiné to France, the castle of Beaufort became property of King of France John II the Good (1319-1364, crowned in 1350). It was returned to Savoy as prescribed by the treaty of Paris signed with Count Amadeus VI (1334-1383). Duke of Savoy Louis I (1413-1465) transferred the fortress in 1460 to his osn Janus (1440-1491), Count of Geneva. James of Savoie-Nemours (1531-1585), Duke of Genevois, offered the castle to Dominican nuns who had been expelled from Geneva by the Protestants.
In 1792, the French revolutionaries expelled the nuns; sold, the castle was transformed into a farm. The ruins were purchased around 1871 by the Order of St. Augustine to establish a monastery. The castle was eventually acquired in 1937 by a private owner.
[Château f&eaucte;odal et ruine médiévale]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 29 April 2021