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Animals and their feeding

The production steps

Guaranteed and controlled quality

The expansion of Savoie cheese production has been spurred on by its location in the heart of a terroir with a specific combination of climate and geographical conditions

Geography and farming lands

The climate and geographical conditions have had a strong influence on the use of the land for agricultural purposes. The high average altitude (1,300m), with steep slopes and mountain climate conditions (very cold, with high rainfall) favours the growth of grass (90% of the usable farming area in Savoie is comprised of pastures, extending across 310,000ha. Between the XI and the XVth centuries, the deforestation of mountain regions called for by local and church authorities gave rise to open spaces intended to provide livestock grazers with pastureland. This is when Savoie agriculture started the production and processing of milk into cheese.

The mountain provides variable conditions, with the altitude varying from 210m to 4,810m, very diverse soils (from the limestone foothills of the Alps to crystalline mountain ranges) and different climate conditions (with varying degrees of moisture) providing highly diverse living and farming conditions. This is part of what makes each terroir so unique.

The Savoie regions also offer an astounding diversity of natural resources. High-lying pastures and dairy cattle breeds offer exceptional natural richness, giving Savoie cheeses their distinctive characteristics. Drawing on the benefits offered by this very special natural area, stakeholders in the cheese sectors are also custodians of it. By using practices adapted to the specific territory, they contribute towards responsible environmental management, upholding an approach favouring sustainable development.

Thus, Savoie's decision to favour pastoral grazing and feeding their dairy cattle grass for their PDOs and PGIs contributes towards preventing the intensification of agriculture and maintaining the environmentally sensitive areas comprising Savoie’s mountain grasses and wet pasturelands. Maintaining the open landscape also contributes towards reducing the risk of avalanches, and maintaining ski pistes. In recognition of the cheese producers’ devotion towards upholding practices that remain respectful of the mountain environment, the Maxime Viallet Award is bestowed on farmers who implement exemplary farming practices concerning staff management, the opening up of farming operations to members of the public, and cheese processing. Awarded every three years, it recognises best practices in managing Alpine pastures in the Beaufort PDO areas: Tarentaise, Maurienne, Beaufortain.

Based on the same model, “Saveurs des Aravis” also awards a prize for the Alpine pastures of the Aravis Range, from the Glières Plateau to Le Bargy, including the Tournette mountain range.

High-lying pastures forming the basis of dairy cattle’s diet

In Pays de Savoie, 90% of farmed lands (equating to 310,000ha) are under grass, with pastures therefore comprising the territory's hidden treasure. Of these 310,000ha, 220,000ha are Alpine pastures, expansive natural areas intended for herd grazing.

To ensure adherence to the specifications required for PDO and PGI certification, dairy livestock (cattle and goats) who provide the milk for Savoie cheese must graze mainly on the grass present in these high-lying pastures. In fact, the precipitous terrain, specific climate and altitude (up to 2,500m) provides specific vegetation, which gives the milk its distinctive characteristics. Although these expansive natural areas are rich in natural resources, they also impose a number of constraints.

In order to manage the grass resources according to the seasons, mountain dwellers and dairy livestock have had to adapt to the specific characteristics comprising them.

To have fun at home

Coloring pages to download


Learn more at school
A free educational kit on Cheeses of Savoy PDO-PGI, exists : pedagogical, playful and attractive, it is at your disposal!
To order it, simply download, fill and return the order form.

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3 ateliers pédagogiques à la carte pour les cycles 2 (CP-CE1) et les cycles 3 (CE2, CM1, CM2).

Pour les classes de Savoie et Haute-Savoie, 3 ateliers peuvent être réalisés en classe :
  • La fabrication des Fromages de Savoie
  • La ronde des sens
  • Les Fromages de Savoie : des acteurs durables du territoire
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