The 2023 Vaud Le Gruyère AOP of excellence is produced in Moudon
The Vaud State Council has chosen Le Gruyère AOP from the Moudon cheese dairy as the cheese of excellence for the year 2023. It was developed under the guidance of the cheesemaker Jérôme Rossmann. Like all the competitors, his Le Gruyère AOP achieved an average score of 19 out of 20 points in the 2022 assessment.
"I am proud to be a cheese maker"
Jérôme Rossmann, cheese maker in Moudon
Nothing predestined Jérôme to become a cheesemaker. When he was at secondary school, he was aiming for a career in mathematics. To perfect his German, he went to the German-speaking part of Switzerland as an au pair boy. It was there that he had the opportunity to help out at the village cheese dairy. His curiosity led him to discover this profession. "At the age of 15, I never thought I would become a cheesemaker. But I was fascinated to see the milk that becomes semi-liquid before turning into hard cheese. I like to say that you have to believe in fate. It was fate that brought me there. When I returned to the French speaking part of Switzerland, I did my CFC, then my license and my master's degree. I am proud to be doing this job."
The mathematics enthusiast learned to work with his hands during his apprenticeship. "My job is a good mix of the intellectual and practical sides. When I started my apprenticeship, I used my arms for the first time in my life." After practising his trade in Pringy, then in La Joux with the Ecoffey brothers and a second cousin, whom he admired, he became an independent production manager at the Moudon cheese dairy on 1 June 2019. Once again, fate, he believes. While working in La Joux, he regularly came to make butter at the Moudon cheese dairy, which had the proper machine. When he heard that the cheesemaker was leaving, he was able to apply for the job.
The Moudon cheese dairy has been located in a commercial and industrial area of the town since 2010. When the Moudon Cheese Dairy School closed in 2004, the milk producers of Chavannes/Moudon and Moudon started to deliver their milk to Elsa, who took over the school's premises and continued to produce Le Gruyère AOP. Six years later, the Migros dairy production company ceased its activity on the site. The producers of the two communes as well as those delivering their milk to the Bussy/Moudon cheese dairy decided to create the regional cheese dairy company of Grand Pré and to build a new building.
Mr. Rossmann is thus in charge of production with a mandate to provide services to the cheese dairy. This is a particularity of Moudon. He receives a basic financial package: he chooses and finances his staff, consisting of a CFC worker who is his right-hand man and two apprentices. The dairy company owns the wheels of Le Gruyère AOP cheese that it sells to the cheese maturer FROMCO. The quality premiums are then divided between the cheesemaker and the producers. "This organisation allows the 19 milk producers to feel very involved and responsible," says Samuel Zürcher, president of the Moudon cheese dairy company. "Everyone feels that they have a say in the final result of the cooperative."
"Quality is a daily task," says Arnaud Pidoux, producer and committee member. "This milk is as if it were for me. I am passionate about my animals, which produce milk with high added value." Etienne Habegger, producer in Moudon and committee member continues: "Milk is the fruit of our animals’ well-being, to which we must pay attention. Our job is not to produce milk, but to look after our cows. To achieve this, we take our time, we bring our passion and energy, and sometimes we make sacrifices. The result is worth it: quality milk!"
Jérôme Rossmann knows that to do this job, you need to be able to count on your family. He is very grateful to his wife Mathilde who offers her support. When he arrived in Moudon, although there was work for four, there were only three of them at the cheese dairy. During the weekends, Mathilde came to help her husband and look after the cheeses. Today, the team is complete and everyone is committed to improving the quality of the Le Gruyère AOP produced at the Grand Pré cheese dairy in Moudon.