1 – Collecting the milk

Everything begins with the arrival of the raw material, milk.  To make good cheese you need good milk, that is, fresh milk without a trace of antibiotics or germs.  The policy of the Coferme milk collecting cooperative ensures that these conditions are met.

2 - Storage

The collected milk is analyzed and stored in 50,000-liter receiving tanks.  These huge tanks are located outside the building.  The milk required for the day’s cheese production is then transferred from these tanks to the dairy.

3 – Pasteurization and standardization

The milk is standardized, meaning that its fat content is brought to a constant level of around30 grams per liter (or quart) of milk.  After that, it is pasteurized.

4 - Curdling

The milk is then pumped to a curdling vat, where it is seeded with enzymes and rennet to trigger curdling.  The milk takes about one hour to curdle.

5 - Draining

After curdling, the whey is removed and the curd, that is, the solid part of the curdled milk, is washed with about the same amount of water as the amount of whey that was removed.  After ninety minutes the curd is placed in a drainage tub, where the separation of whey from curd is completed.

6 – Molding and pressing

When it comes out of the drainage tub the curd is cut into cubes by a set of knives.  The pieces are then placed carefully and by hand in round or rectangular molds which will then be put under a press to give the cheese is final shape.

7 - Brining

The unmolded cheeses are plunged in a vat of brine (water to which salt has been added).  They stay in the brine for from 100 minutes to 45 hours, depending on the cheese’s weight.

The entire production process thus takes more than a whole day.

8 – Maturing or aging

The cheeses are then taken out of the brine and placed in maturation cellars.  These cellars are kept at a constant temperature between 8-12°C with 90 to 95% relative humidity.  Once in these cellars, the cheeses are washed with brine at least twice and turned over four to five times so that they mature evenly.  It should be noted that the Chimay “ale cheeses” (with “à la Bière” in the name) are washed in Chimay Trappist ale.

9 – Wrapping, weighing, and labeling

On leaving the cellar the cheeses are checked, weighed, and wrapped.  They are then ready for sending to our Belgian, French, American, Swedish, Finnish, Japanese, and other customers.

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Milestones

vache Brother Benedict goes to France to learn how to make a semi-hard cheese.  Trappist cheese is born!
1876
moine The new dairy set up on Baileux bottling plant site opens for business.  It produces just one cheese, 1-kilogram wheels of Chimay Grand Classique.
1982
vieux chimay Vieux Chimay cheese – a hard cheese made from whole milk – is unveiled.
1989
1857
Start of the dairy.  The butter that it churns out supplies the monastic order’s kitchens.
production locale 1953
Collaboration with the local dairy product company Sainte-Anne at Forges.  The cheeses are made at Forges but continue to mature in the abbey’s cellars.
fromage à la bière 1986
Launch of “ale cheese:”  cheese that is washed in beer as it matures.
Chimy doré

Launch of “Le Poteaupré”.

 

Monastic and regional know-how

Chimay’s cheeses are also officially recognized as Trappist products.

Like the ales, they are made from local products to ensure their superior quality.

The milk that goes into these cheeses comes from farms located within 30 km (18 miles) of the dairy.

logo_trappiste_81 100% Lair régional / Regionale melk (logo)