1 – Collecting the milk

It all starts with the arrival of the basic ingredient, milk. To make good cheese, you need good milk. Fresh milk, without a trace of antibiotics or harmful germs. This is guaranteed by the policy of the Coferme cooperative.

2 - Storage

The milk collected is analysed and stored in reception vats with a capacity of 50,000 litres each. These tanks stand outside the building. From there, the milk needed to make the cheese is taken to the cheese plant.

3 – Pasteurising and standardising

The milk is standardised, which means that its fat content is balanced at around 30 g per litre of milk. It is then pasteurised.

4 - Curdling

The milk is then transferred to a production vat. It is curdled by adding ferments and a natural coagulant. This curdling process takes about one hour.

5 - Draining

The whey is then removed and the curd (the curdled milk) is washed with a quantity of water more or less equal to that of the whey taken out. After an hour and a half, the curd is transferred to a drainage tank where the process of separating the whey from the curdled milk is completed.

6 – Moulding and pressing

Upon leaving the drainage tank, the curd is cut into cubes using a system of knives. The pieces are then placed carefully into round or rectangular moulds by hand. These moulds are then pressed carefully to give the cheeses their final shape.

7 - Brining

The cheeses are removed from the moulds and plunged into a tank of brine (water with added salt) where they are left for between 1 h 40 minutes and 45 hours, depending on the weight of the cheese.

The entire production process will therefore have taken more than a full day.

8 – Maturing or ripening

The cheeses are then taken out of the brine and transferred to maturation cellars. These cellars are kept at a constant temperature of between 8 and 12°C, with a relative humidity level that varies between 90 and 95 %. Once they are in the cellars, the cheeses are washed in salted water at least twice and turned four to five times, so that they ripen evenly. Note that the Chimay cheeses ‘à la bière’ are ‘washed’ in Chimay Trappist beer.

9 – Packaging, weighing and labelling

When they leave the cellar, the cheeses are checked, weighed and packaged ready for shipping to our customers in Belgium, France, America, Sweden, Finland, Japan and elsewhere.

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Key dates

vache Brother Benedict goes to France to learn how to make a semi-soft cheese. Trappist cheese is born!
1876
moine The new cheese dairy is established at the Baileux bottling plant. It makes just one cheese: Chimay ‘Grand Classique’ in 1 kg rounds.
1982
vieux chimay ‘Vieux Chimay’ is born; a hard cheese made of full-cream milk.
1989
dore et bleu
1857
Start-up of the dairy plant. Butter is made for use by members of the order.
production locale 1953
Cooperation with Sainte-Anne, the local dairy products firm in Forges. These cheeses are made there but still ripened at the abbey.
fromage à la bière 1986
Launch of cheese ‘à la bière’: the cheese is washed in beer during the ripening process.
Chimy doré 2013
Launch of Chimay Gold cheese. Cheese ‘à la Bleue’, washed several times in Chimay Blue Cap, is placed on the market.

 

Monastic and regional know-how.

Chimay cheeses are also recognised as Trappist products.

Like the beer, they are made using local products in order to ensure superior quality.

The milk used to make the cheeses comes from farms within a radius of 30 km of the cheese plant.

logo_trappiste_81 100% Lair régional / Regionale melk (logo)