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For the town of the same name, see Saint-Nectaire, Puy-de-Dôme. For the saint, see Nectarius of Auvergne.
Country of origin France
Region, town Auvergne, Saint Nectaire
Source of milk Cow
Pasteurised Depends on variety
Texture semi-soft washed rind
Aging time 8 weeks
Certification French AOC 1955

Saint-Nectaire is a French cheese made in the Auvergne region of central France. The cheese has been made in Auvergne since at least the 17th century. Its name comes from the Marshal of Senneterre (a linguistic corruption of "Saint-Nectaire"), who served it at the table of Louis XIV. The Marshal of Senneterre is also responsible for the introduction of Cantal and Salers.

Saint-Nectaire is a pressed, uncooked cheese made from cow's milk, mainly of Holstein and Montbéliarde and sometimes Salers. It is circular in shape, around 21 cm in diameter and 5 cm in height, and weighing around 1.7 kg (3.7 lb). A smaller version called Petit Saint-Nectaire is also made, measuring 13 cm (5.1 in) in diameter, and weighing around 600 grams (21 oz). Both are made from either pasteurized or unpasteurized milk.

It is the first "farmer" AOC cheese in France with 6.000 tons produced each year.

The finished cheese has a grey/brown rind, with white, yellow or red patches that surround a semi-hard pâte that is creamy in appearance with occasional residual holes. This dense cheese has a silky texture with soft acidity, and its taste is similar to that of Reblochon, with hints of hazelnut and mushrooms, due to the aromatic flora where the cheese ages.


Box of saint nectaire before affinage (maturing).

After being heated to 32 °C (90 °F), rennet is added to the milk and left for around an hour. The curd is milled to around the size of grains of rice and gathered into a single mass, known as the tomme.

The tomme is cut into small cubes and pressed into the circular mould by hand. After pressing, the cheese is salted and pressed for around 24 hours, turning around midway through. The mould is discarded and the cheese is dried over a period of three days.

Saint-Nectaire Fermier (made on a farm and not a factory) has a rough, irregular (but edible) rind

The period of affinage lasts up to eight weeks, during which time they are twice washed in brine and aged on rye straw. The majority of Saint-Nectaires are transported to a professional affineur for the final six weeks of the affinage. The affinage is also cut short if it is decided that the flavour and scent are not developing sufficiently.

Around 15 l (4.0 US gal) of milk are required to make one cheese, and the final product is at least 45% fat as a percentage of dry matter.

Saint-Nectaire was awarded Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 1955.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Histoire du fromage Saint Nectaire". 

External links[edit]