Norman cheeses 

The bricquebec

Trappe de Bricquebec, Providence.

Old bricquebec label (around 1950)
Old bricquebec label (around 1950)

Description

Type Monastery cheese
Milk Cow. At start crude milk and then pasteurised milk.
Aspect Small whole cheese of 22 cm of diametre.
250 gr.
45% of fat.
Region Bricquebec - Valognes

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History

This cheese was created by the monks of the Bricquebec abbay, founded in 1824 by Dom Augustin Onfroy, in a small village of the Cotentin. The successor of Dom Augustin Onfroy, Dom Germain tried early to ensure that its abbay would have enough incomes for its survival. Therefore he decided to start producing cheeses. One shoud keep in mind that the trappist monks of other abbays where specialists in the production of cheeses. For example the "Port du Salut" is a trappist cheese created in Port Rhingeard and that became the property of the Entrammes monks in 1873. Many trappist community started producing cheeses at the same time and helped themselves to improve their cheese quality. In France, the family of the Saint-Paulin cheeses including, the Port-Salut, the Mont des Cats, the Belval, the bricquebec...

The success of the Bricquebec came soon especially in the Cherbourg town and in its countryside and soon the monks d decided to sell their cheeses in a wider area.Therefore they signed a agreement with mister Langlois and its society "La maison de la Providence" (Providence house) to allow him to sell their cheeses in Paris. This distributor turned out to be a zealous person, and the "Fromage de la Providence" became well-known in Paris and won many prices for its quality.

The production grew regularly until the second world war: at that period the abbay was collecting the milk of 230 farmers (approximatelly 2,5 millions of liters of milk a year) and the production was done by the monks and by 30 workers.

The post war period was more difficult for the abbay. It had to face the competition of other societies that were producing Saint-Paulin with pasteurized milk, that makes the quality of the product decreased. In 1961, the monks decided to stop the production of that cheese in the abbay. They sold the brand "La Providence" to the Valco society in Valognes.

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Links, addresses and information

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Grâce
Le Couvent
50260 Bricquebec
Tél: +33 (0)2 33 87 56 12