Roquefort is first mentioned in 1070 in the context of the Carolingian period. At the end of the Middle Ages, its reputation extends to the Mediterranean regions (Toulouse, Marseille, Montpellier). In the XVth Century, under Charles VI, the refining of the cheese becomes the monopoly of the people of Roquefort and the caves are granted a protected status. In turn, Charles VII grants the people of Roquefort another privilege: in 1666, the Parliament of Toulouse votes a decree allowing for the sanction of producers of fake Roquefort cheese. Roquefort, “the land where neither vineyards nor corn will grow”. Traders of false Roquefort are punishable by the 1666 decision of the Parliament of Toulouse. During the Age of the Enlightenment, the French philosopher Diderot attributes the title “King of Cheeses” to Roquefort cheese.
In the XIX Century, many ambassadors’ and consuls’ reports state that Roquefort contributes – in much the same way as Champagne – to the notoriety of France in the United States.
Roquefort cheese becomes internationally renown in the XX Century. It is the first cheese to be granted, in 1925, the title Appellation d’Origine – ‘label of origin’, a mark or guarantee of quality; in 1951, at the International Convention of Stresa, Roquefort is confirmed as an Appellation d’Origine on an international level.
Today, Roquefort is recognised throughout Europe as an Appellation d’Origine Protégée, a ‘protected label of origin’. The terms of production are precisely set up by the Designation Decrees of January 22nd, 2001 and May 17th, 2005.
According to legend, a romantic shepherd… following in the tracks of his shepherdess… forgot some bread and ewe’s cheese in one of the Combalou caves.
On his return some time later, he discovered the cheese covered in mould. He tasted it and found it delicious. Roquefort cheese was born. Guardian of this savoir-faire, man has kept up this tradition in the depths of the caves and the same miracle occurs time and time again.
Roquefort is one of the greatest cheeses ever.
In 1930, the Confédération Générale des Producteurs de Lait de Brebis et des Industriels de Roquefort - the General Confederation of Ewe’s Milk Producers and Industrialists of the Land of Roquefort - created a collective brand, the ‘Red Ewe’, to guarantee consumers that all the quality controls, and particularly those required by the Appellation d’Origine Roquefort, are scrupulously respected.
This branding is now a registered trademark in more than 80 countries worldwide. You will find it on Roquefort packaging.
The INAO – Institut National des Appellations d’Origine - manage the ‘AOC’, the Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée, i.e. the monitored labels of origin. The AOC labelling is in effect a guarantee of the combination of a native quality, a specific product and the savoir-faire of mankind.
Roquefort is an Appellation d’Origine since 1925 and an Appellation d’Origine Protégée, i.e. a ‘protected label of origin’, since 1996.
Le décret du 17 mai 2005
Le règlement d'application du 14 mai 2001
Le décret du 22 Janvier 2001 relatif à l'AOC Roquefort