The history of the company dates back to the 19th century when Guillaume Coulet, a resident of the Roquefort-sur-Soulzon village and a waggoner by profession, undertook to dig a wine cellar under his house. He discovered “fleurines”, namely cracks in the natural ventilation of the Combalou massif, making this place a privileged site to create a Roquefort ripening cellar.
The year 1872 marked the beginning of Coulet’s adventure, Guillaume officially became producer and cheese manufacturer. His son Gabriel succeeded him in 1906 and gave his name to what will become today’s famous Gabriel Coulet Roquefort.
The Roquefort legend
A shepherd, in a hurry to whisper sweet nothings in a young lady’s ear, would have forgotten a sheep’s milk cheese on a slice of rye bread in Combalou’s scree. A few weeks later, he found his slice of bread which had turned bluish. Indeed, the Penicilium Roqueforti present in the bread had done its work. The young man tasted it and appreciated it against all odds! Hence Roquefort was born.
Gabriel Coulet Roquefort
Figure of French gastronomy, it differs from other Roqueforts by many aspects:
- The molding is manually handled.
- The natural cellar maturation of some batches is voluntarily extended beyond the 21 days[PH1] required by the AOP/ PDO label, for more creaminess.
- Its maturation at controlled temperature is voluntarily extended beyond the 3 months required by the AOP/ PDO label, for more refinement.
- At each stage of their production, all Roqueforts are manually sorted. The master cheese makers select only those whose Penicillium Roqueforti is visually evenly distributed over the entire surface of the cheese.
- This quest for excellence guarantees to Gabriel Coulet customers and consumers an ivory color paste with multiple bluish marblings, an extremely melting texture and an inimitable taste more or less typical depending on the maturation.
- The exceptional quality of the Gabriel Coulet Roqueforts has been awarded by numerous gold medals at the Paris Concours General Agricole.
The dean of Protected Designation of Origin
Roquefort is a blue sheep’s milk cheese from the Aveyron department. Sacred in 1925, it is the oldest AOP/ PDO cheese in France.
The first Roquefort’s ingredient is none other than the raw milk of the Lacaune sheep breed. This milk, heated to a temperature between 28 °C / 82.4°F and 32°C / 90°F for renneting, is then seeded with Penicillium roqueforti mold. After being cut up and brewed in a tank, the curd is manually put into molds and then regularly turned over.
Salted on all sides, the Roquefort cheese can finally be matured in the natural cellars of the Roquefort-Sur-Soulzon village. The cracks in the Combalou massif, called fleurines, will host the wheels for a period of about three weeks. The average temperature is 11°C / 52°F and the natural ventilation constitute perfect conditions for the maturation.
The cheese is then stored at controlled temperature and will only obtain the Roquefort Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) after a minimum period of 90 days (120 days at Gabriel Coulet’s) guaranteeing the authenticity of its manufacture and its recognition.