Bethmale cheese takes its name from the area closest to its place of origin. It can also be called ‘Pyrenees au lait de vache’ (Cow’s milk Pyrenees).
Written traces of this cheese have been found from the 12th Century, where the cheese was served to Louis VI whilst he was passing through Saint-Girons. In the 13th century, the cheese was sold at the market of Pamiers, as the ‘fatty cheese of Saint-Girons.’ But it was in the 19th Century that this cheese was in vogue. The cheese dairies were not only situated in Bethmale, but also in Saint-Lary, Luzenac, Rogalle, Saint-Girons and Boussenac. Today, one of the last women to still produce the Bethmale cheese is Madame Sylvie Domenc.
Bethmale cheese is in the shape of a disc with a convex talon, and is quite thick. It weighs between 5 and 7kg.
The cheese is matured for 3 to 4 months in a humid cave where it is brushed regularly.
Exterior appearance of the Bethmale cheese: flat, fine rind
Odour of the Bethmale cheese: weak odour
Texture of the Bethmale cheese: firm but slightly supple
Taste of the Bethmale cheese: Pronounced to piquant.