It’s not everyday that a company celebrates a milestone 100-year anniversary, but La Fromagerie Henri Hutin, created in 1922 when young Henri, at the age of 22, took over the family creamery, says it is “beyond excited” to celebrate its 100-year as it continues to be a leading French producer and exporter of soft-ripened, pressed soft-ripened and spreadable fresh specialty cheeses.
With brands including Belletoile, Brie Couronne and Tours de Paris, the Dieue-sur-Meuse, France-based company is still recognized for its traditional craftsmanship, cheesemaking expertise and ability to meet the market’s changing needs.
The company points out its commitment to using only premium milk from pasture-raised cows for its Brie Couronne range of double-crème brie, while Tours de Paris, known for its foil-wrapped wedges of brie, is launching a 7-ounce overall format in two new flavors: 3 Peppers and Mediterranean, which will join the Plain flavor. All packaging will be accompanied by updated graphics for the brand, including the redesigned 1922-2022 logo and the full line of Tours de Paris products will showcase a new packaging design, still recognizable with its prominent Eiffel Tower.
Born at the turn of the 20th century into a family of farmers and farmstead cheesemakers in Meuse, France, it was after World War I that Hutin quickly expanded the company’s brie production to meet the demand he created across France’s northeastern region, having stretched his sales territory to the nearby cities of Metz and Nancy and earning his reputation as “master cheesemaker.”
Hutin’s business acumen and know-how allowed his cheese company to continually evolve in its production of soft-ripened cheeses. Maintaining a focus on craftsmanship and quality by using premium fresh milk and cream from cows in the Lorraine Valley, a region known for its agriculture and farmland, Hutin’s signature product, Belletoile, became the first triple-crème Brie exported to the United States in 1960.
Hutin’s company prospered under his leadership until his retirement at age 75; he sold his premium cheesemaking company in 1978 to another family-owned firm, Hochland Group (Germany). La Fromagerie Henri Hutin has retained its founder’s spirit and today not only maintains its excellent reputation, but continues to expand and progress by developing new products and operating in a more sustainable manner, which includes renovating its production facility and incorporating more milk from pasture-raised cows.
While the company’s dairy farmers traditionally keep their herds in pasture, La Fromagerie Henri Hutin has implemented a new grazing program, controlled by an independent test institute, specific to the milk used in the production of its prolific Brie Couronne cheeses. Not only does this program ensure the welfare of the cows, it also improves land use, nutrient and manure management, and soil health, translating into a reduced carbon footprint. Further, research demonstrates that pasture-raised cows provide higher quality milk, with an increase in the amount of valuable omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, molecules that bodies use for energy and building cells.
“It is with great pride that we celebrate La Fromagerie Henri Hutin’s century of excellence in cheesemaking,” says Christel Vibrac, export manager of La Fromagerie Henri Hutin. “While we have a foothold in the past, we consider ourselves one hundred years ‘young’ as we are always looking to the future, just as Henri did. We’re making great strides in our effort to combat climate change, all while continuing to make cheeses that are tastier and more convenient for our customers.”