A Val de Bagnes cheese maker woman: Mauricette Fellay
Last fall, Besson Immobilier headed for the village of Lourtier to meet an exceptional woman: the cheese maker, Mauricette Fellay.
The Glariers farm belonging to the Fellay family is set amid a unique backdrop, at the gateway to the Haut Val de Bagnes, not far from Verbier, between forests and pastures. In front of us, the steep slopes of the valley were blanketed in the first winter snow. A quieter time for the cheese maker, as milk becomes more scarce and the animals are in the barn awaiting the next calving. We were therefore able to get to know this charming, spontaneous and modest young entrepreneur who works very simply, respecting the finest Valaisan traditions, far from the crowds and the big stores.
From travelling to cheese…
Cheese was not always an obvious choice for Mauricette. As a child growing up in the country and with a degree in tourism, Mauricette had just one aim: to travel to South America. The trip began as a dream, then developed and became a reality in 2002—a unique experience to travel all over Latin America. After her 5 month adventure, Mauricette felt that she could never be as happy as she had been in her native region, the Val de Bagnes. I was born in Bagnes and will die there, she tells us.
She is married to Jean-Daniel, a foreman in the valley. The couple took over an uncle’s farm in 2007 with the aim of continuing the family tradition and she is the one who, with her savings, bought the flock of sheep. Mauricette threw herself wholeheartedly into the world of agriculture with an endless confidence. In 2011, they took on a few cows and her father-in-law encouraged her to make cheese if she had too much milk.
A vocation born out of a passion for cream and milk
Mauricette had a passion for cream and milk, which, for her, was synonymous with purity. That is why she started making little cheeses in her kitchen. But it was hardly a success, she admits. In 2016, the family began to comply with regulations as the cow herd grew. Mauricette started to take things more seriously by training as a cheesemaker in Châteauneuf and setting up a cheese dairy and a cellar on the farm.
A love of animals, good produce and handmade fare
We are not short of work on the farm. Besides having 4 children born between 2006 and 2012, Mauricette helps her husband in setting up the pens, moving herds, lambing and harvesting hay during the summer. Jean-Daniel looks after the livestock and makes sure the dairy cows are milked twice a day.
Today, certified organic, they have no less than 12 cows, 250 sheep and 60 hens. But it is in her cheese dairy and cellar that Mauricette really excels, transforming the white gold that is milk into real little treasures.
How Mauricette enhances an exceptional milk
At a steady pace, Mauricette successively prepares fromage frais, raclette cheese, sérac, yoghurt and what has become her trademark, “la tomme de Mauricette”.
Afterwards, Mauricette tends to her cheeses almost every day, ensuring they release their finest aromas. She reproduces the refiners’ age-old choreography, using simple and precise actions: treating, turning, brushing, caressing and maturing her tommes and cheeses, with a love of craftmanship that will bring a personal flavour to them.
Today, at a time when cellar work has been replaced by robots, Mauricette knows more than anyone that it is the product that does all the work. She does not want to inundate the Vallée de Bagnes with her products and, for this reason, her local production is very popular with people in the area. Full-bodied, soft and flavoursome, Mauricette’s cheeses are true delicacies—products of character, authentic, the fruit of an uncompromising passion that is so refreshing in this industry.
Where can you find Mauricette’s products?
- At her home at the Glariers farm in Lourtier
- La Vie Claire in Verbier
- Bio Bagnes in Le Châble
- JMC in Le Châble
- Migros Partenaires in Le Châble
- La Brusonette in Bruson
- Le Panier Gourmand in Martigny-Croix
- La Roulotte Verte in Bramois
- La fée du bocal in Collonges
(Also check out our article, how to buy directly from producers in the Val de Bagnes region)
At Besson Immobilier, we love to tell you stories about life and short trips in our region! Discover even more articles, hiking ideas, new and unusual insights and information on the Verbier and Val de Bagnes region in our Besson mag. That way, you can plan your trip to our beautiful region with greater peace of mind.