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Juliet Lamy – La fromagère de Tahiti

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Juliet Lamy

Juliet, Fenua’s first cheese-maker, tells us her story

La Fromagère de Tahiti is a local producer of artisan cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk, sourced from the farm on the Taravao plateau. It’s the only cheese-making company in Fenua. The producer, who is also a trained farmer, transforms the farm’s fresh milk into a range of local cheeses. Due to regulations prohibiting the marketing of raw milk in French Polynesia, milk must be pasteurized before processing. The cheese-maker began production in November 2016 in a laboratory she was subletting to an artisanal ice cream company. Since then, demand for her cheeses has continued to grow, prompting her to move to the Taravao relay workshop, where she can produce all week long.

La ferme du plateau de Taravao est la seule ferme laitière de Polynésie, avec environ 900 vaches, dont 250 vaches laitières de race Holstein croisées avec la race Brahmane. This crossbreeding gives cows greater resistance to tropical diseases and enables them to withstand heat better, thus avoiding the use of antibiotics. Visits to the Taravao farm are possible during opening hours.

The cheese-maker had originally planned to set up her own farm in France, but finally landed in Tahiti in 2015. She then met a French master cheesemaker who encouraged her in her cheese-making project. Thanks to his support, she was able to start experimenting with cheese-making and eventually developed three types of cheese: Saint-Tahitien (a soft cheese with a lactic character), Tomme du Vent (a soft pressed cheese) and fromage frais (a lactic cheese). She also offers variations on her cheeses using local ingredients, such as grapefruit confit, Manutea white rum, papaya pepper and Marquesas pink berries. Its latest product, Urubier, is an ashy cheese made from Uru ash.

The cheese-maker sells her products on the premises of the Taravao “ateliers-relais”, and also offers the possibility of buying online with delivery. Its cheeses can be found in some supermarkets, as well as in renowned restaurants and hotels such as Hei Restaurant, Maru Maru, Brando, Saint Régis Bora Bora, Conrad Bora Bora and Le Velvet at the Tahiti Nui Hotel. It also supplies a number of small retailers on the islands.

Today, Chefs de Tahiti presents a portrait of Fenua’s leading cheese producer: