Roquefort, a village lying at the foot of the Combalou Rock, a listed Site Remarquable du Goût (Remarkable Site of Taste), is a unique place: it’s the only place in the world where the famous and characterful cheese named Roquefort is ripened.
The cheese-making centre of Roquefort in the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park stands at an altitude of 630 metres and has 679 inhabitants. It clings to the side of the famous Combalou Rock in the south of Larzac.
Roquefort is also an industrial village where nearly a thousand people work to make the famous cheese. This tradition dates back over a thousand years and its secrets are jealously guarded in the depths of the natural caves dug into the Combalou scree, 2 km long and 300 m wide.
Arranged into several levels on top of each other, the caves are ventilated by fleurines (faults in the rock) which maintain a constant temperature in summer and winter alike, between 8°C and 10°C, and a moisture level of 95% due to water infiltration through the scree. The blocks of Roquefort are slowly ripened in this natural environment of stones and wood.
The Monts de Lacaune in Tarn lent their name to the Lacaune breed of sheep, created from a selection of the best local sheep breeds in the Roquefort area. It is therefore perfectly adapted to the local climate and environment.
With superior milk yields and improved hardiness, this breed is now the only one used for milking in the area.
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