In addition to the usual controls linked to the payment of milk, the process has always monitored the quality of the ewe’s milk to be used in the production of Roquefort cheese (daily quality control of milk from the producers, carried out in the dairies).
What’s more, and for over ten years now, the tanks used to transport the milk are systematically monitored. Should a problem arise, the individual milks are in turn monitored. Only the milk confirmed as being appropriate for the production of Roquefort cheese is taken to the dairies.
Dug out in the scree-covered slopes of Combalou Rock, the caves of Roquefort enjoy perfectly constant temperatures and hygrometry all year round thanks to the influence of the natural ventilating faults, the ‘fleurines’. Le name ‘fleurine’ comes from the Occitan word ‘flarina’, which means ‘to blow’.
After leaving the dairy or on entering the cave, the Roquefort “loaf” is perforated some forty times from top to bottom. This is to aerate it and encourage the production of Roqueforti Penicillium - the penicillium mould - in the cheese. The Roquefort “loaf” is now ready for the natural maturing process in the caves.
The cheese will be left in the caves uncovered for 2 to 3 weeks. When the cave manager decides that the Roqueforti Penicillium has sufficiently developed, the “loaves” are wrapped and stored at a low temperature to further mature. Roquefort cheese will take a minimum of 3 months to reach maturity.