#Émilie JacquotFrom valley floor to mountain pastures, a lifelong passion for Abondance cheese
At Les Noisetiers farm, near Col de Leschaux Pass in the Bauges Mountains, Emilie Jacquot tends to her family’s herd of cows with perseverance and commitment. Caring for the 60 Abondance dairy cows and almost 80 heifers, while managing milk production, cheese making, the store, sales, and farm tours, it takes strong will and a lot of character to say the least.
One thing is for sure, Emilie has plenty of both!
When Emilie took over the family farm in 2007, she diversified the business right away, building a cheese making facility to make Abondance cheese while milk production continued. She also seized the opportunity to use Combe des Villards pastures along the flanks of Mt. Semnoz where, from June 15 to the end of August, grazing and making cheese are a summer tradition. The cows enjoy hectare upon hectare of lush, grass-covered mountain pastures where so many deliciously flavorful flowers grow.
A windfall when it comes to a guaranteed year-round source of feed for her cows. This also means being able to produce organic and AOP-certified farmhouse Abondance cheese, made with raw milk, and whose fame is only surpassed its amazing taste. Cheese plates everywhere almost always include Abondance cheese, whether on the dinner table at home or when served at the most prestigious restaurants. Just ask any local chef!
© GAEC Les Noisetiers / Emilie Jacquot and her animals
Pastoralism: preserving natural landscapes
Beyond skillfully managing the business with her brother, Emilie Jacquot works hard on the farm in the valley during the winter and in the mountain pastures in the summer to teach visitors why it is so important preserve the environment, “I’ve observed that most people know very little about farming and raising livestock. However, they are clearly eager to learn, and there is a lot to explain about the challenges we face every day.”
Ensuring that pastoralism and outdoor sports develop peacefully side by side often proves a complex endeavor. “We focus our energy on the living world, working hard to make sure that our animals live comfortably and are well taken care of. Each animal’s well-being is our priority day-in and day-out.”
© GAEC Les Noisetiers / Herd in the mountain pastures of Semnoz
Located in the heart of the Bauges Mountains Natural Regional Park, the Jacquot family and their farm are an integral part of the local farming community, which plays a key role in preserving the natural environment and mountain landscapes. As such, whether a leisurely hiker, an avid trail runner, or an accomplished outdoor athlete, acknowledging the hard work farmers accomplish and showing respect for the natural environment are extremely important. When out and about, avoid trampling the pastures and picking flowers, stay out of enclosed areas (even if temporary) so as not to startle grazing animals, keep your dog on a leash at all times, and pack out any scraps or peels (even biodegradable) from your picnic. Following simple guidelines like these allows everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, ensures sustainable and responsible tourism, and shows respect for the hard, self-sacrificing work often required to be a farmer.
A level of expertise that is simply priceless
Take advantage of the guided farm tours in winter and pasture visits in summer, they offer the chance to better understand the profession, passion, and commitment needed to care for livestock year round.
Every delicious piece of cheese requires hundreds of hours of hard work, weeks spent maturing the cheese, an expertise of immeasurable value, a deep-rooted passion, and an incredible amount of time to achieve such a high level of excellence. Time also spent generation after generation refining and cultivating a strong work ethic.
© GAEC Les Noisetiers / Emilie Jacquot and her production
- At Col de Leschaux Pass, continue for 1 km towards Lescheraines. The farm is located on the left side of the road. Look for the sign “Abondance en vente ici” (Abondance cheese sold here).
- Combe des Villards pastures: from Col de Leschaux Pass, drive for 8 km towards the summit of Mt. Semnoz, the pastures are located on the left (follow the signs). From Annecy, drive up and over the summit of Mt. Semnoz and then downhill for 4.5 km on the Bauges side of the mountain (follow the signs). Drive all the way to the chalet by car (the last 500 m are on a gravel road).
For more information
GAEC Les Noisetiers
Le Pré de la Grange
+33 (0)4 50 32 09 29
- © GAEC Les Noisetiers
Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation: Darin Reisman