The Prez-vers-Noréaz cheese dairy

Several cheese dairies have recently embarked on major projects: new buildings, extensions or renovations.

07 Nov 2020
Around Le Gruyère AOP

In the new cheese dairy shop in Prez-vers-Noréaz, on the main road between Fribourg and Payerne, customers can see straight into the large cellar with its 4000 wheels of cheese. A bay window allows them to see the Gruyère AOP cheese lined up on wooden supports.

"As farmers, we go and visit our animals every evening. He goes to see his cheeses!"

Jean-Michel Ducommun, president of the dairy company

The old cheese dairy had a pigsty that had become obsolete over the years. It was due to close by 1 September 2018 at the latest, as the transitional period for carrying out the work required by the new animal welfare standards came to an end. "We took advantage of this existing building to build a large cellar that can accommodate our quota of 215 tonnes of Gruyère AOP," explains Jean-Michel Ducommun, president of the dairy company.

Coincidentally, Gérald Clément, the new cheesemaker, arrived six months before the start of the work and was able to follow the progress of the project with the members of the dairy company. “The area under the building had to be emptied and excavated in order to be at the same level as the production area," explains the cheesemaker. "So my two workers, my apprentice and I were all able to work together on that. It was really enjoyable!"

With the new standards, it was no longer possible to transport fresh cheese from the production room to the cellar in the open air. It was therefore decided that an additional building would be constructed to connect the two existing buildings. This extension was a good opportunity to create a new, larger shop and to offer a range of local products.

Gérald Clément worked for several years in the L'Etivaz cellars, which used wooden supports: "I found them easy to look after and aesthetically pleasing. I wanted to recreate this warm atmosphere in my cellar and share it with the shop's customers."

For humidity and temperature control, Mr. Clément opted for a traditional system involving static cooling with chilled water supplemented by a small ventilation system for air exchange. This system allows the cellar to be cooled from April to October. In winter, the heat from the whey is used to heat the cellar. This represents a significant reduction in energy consumption!

"I like to make the adjustments to the cheese wheels myself," says the cheesemaker. "Giving the cheese what it needs demands a lot of careful attention. You have to keep a constant eye on it." Jean-Michel Ducommun continues: "As farmers, we go and visit our animals every evening. He goes to see his cheeses!" These excellent Gruyère AOP cheeses are then transported to the Intercheese SA cellars in Beromünster.

Today the eight permanent producers and four occasional producers of Prez-vers-Noréaz and Corserey are very satisfied with the new cheese dairy. "We had a lot of concerns during the construction work," recalls Gérald Clément. "But today we are convinced that we made the right choice."

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