Jean Berthaut

Jean Berthaut

Epoisses Cheesemaker

Epoisses, France
Epoisses cheese originated as early as the XVIth century in a religious community of monks in the small village of Époisses. Two centuries later, when the monks left the village, the recipe was handed over to the peasants in the valley. The wives of the Burgundy farmers assumed the responsibility for making the original Époisses cheese. Over time, they introduced their own traditional skills into the process and improved the quality of this outstanding cheese.

But the wars meant the loss of a significant part of the male population, leaving the women to face the work in the fields alone. Without time to take care of the cheese making or seling the cheese in local markets, the dairies became neglected. By 1954 Epoisses had all but disappeared form the farms.

In 1956 a pair of small farmers, Robert and Simone Berthaut decided to re-launch the production of Époisses by mobilizing the traditional skills of those who still knew how to make the cheese. Berthaut Époisses increasingly gained favor among its devotees and became a spectacular success.

Guided by his parents Jean Berthaut observe and studied the making of Époisses. Remaining faithful to the knowledge passed by them and the people of the terroir, he gradually developed and implemented innovative technologies reproducing, precisely, the traditional process involved in the making of Époisses. The constant search for excellence is the challenge accepted by the Berthaut Fromagerie. "Epoisses Berthaut", as the French call it, has been awarded more than 82 times since 1970!

In 2008, the Epoisses will be produced in new state of the art facility where all factors involved in the making of the perfect Epoisses will be mastered to guarantee an optimal and constant quality.

The Epoisses aroused such interest by French people that is is regarded as a cultural heritage and has been AOC protected since 1991.