Meet our cheesemaker!

When we (Gary and Betty) decided to go into the cheese-making business, we knew that we needed to have the best of the best to help us with our recipe and process. Making cheese is no easy feat, and it’s not for the faint of heart. We wanted to learn from those who have spent their lifetime doing it, and that took across the Atlantic to the French Alps (picture to your left shows the Alpine region that stretches from France across northern Italy through Switzerland and Austria). alex5
And that’s where we came across the one and only Alexandre Pellicier.
Alex lives in Mercury, France, a small village near the beautiful town of Annecy. His parents have been farmers their whole life. They are milk producers there in the French Alp and they make a Beaufort style of cheese. In France where Alex grew up, farming and cheese making are highly connected. Farmers own the cheese plant, so they are involved in all levels of the cheese making, from the cow to the plate. They control everything from milk production to the customer. alex3
Alexandre grew up working with his father milking cows and taking care of the animals. He always thought that he too, would make a career out of farming. But, farming, especially milk production, does not give one much free time to travel. And Alex really wanted to travel and see the world, so he decided to go into cheese making. He learned to make cheese in the mountains when he was 15. He made cheese for 10 years. It was after 10 years of making cheese that he decided to share his skill set with other, and he then decided to go into the consulting business. Since 2008, he has been consulting people full-time on how to make cheese. Poland, the USA, and Kyrgyzstan (central Asia) are a few of the countries where Alex has helped people build cheese plants and work on technical issues with cheese making.
The Burleys met Alex through another Creamery, and they have knownalex4. each other for about a year and a half now, since they first traveled to France in January 2014. Alex has a wife and two children who are 3 ½ and 2 ½. His wife works in the meat industry with very high end products. They met each other at college. Alex went to a college between Annecy and Geneva, and then also studied for two years at a school about an hour north of Lyon.
Alex has one brother who is a ski instructor, and one thing that may surprise you: Alex himself is highly involved in the ski business. When he is not business consulting people on how to make cheese, he works as the Technical Director for the International Ski Mountaineering Federation. He has been a ski racer for 15 years. Also this seems different to many of us, in Alpine France, skiing and farming are the ‘same thing.’ The farmers spend their time living in the mountains and in that environment. alex2They take care of the mountains in the summer and serve as ski patrol or have guest houses for the skiers in the winter.
When I asked Alex why he wants to work with East Hill Creamery, he told me that he really likes the way the Burley families produce their milk. He appreciates their extensive use of their land with their grazing and forestry, and most importantly he really likes that they want a high quality product. The key thing he looks for in a project he helps with is a high quality product. He has never consulted for a big industry group—he prefer small/medium projects. He likes the approach that leads to good, high-quality, end products.
We are very proud to have Alex on our team. If you want to learn more about him, go to http://www.alexandrepellicier.com/
If you have any questions for Alex, please send them to us! He would love to hear from you. As always, thanks for reading today.