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"Tête de Moine" as a proper term has been used since about 1790, but the cheese has a much longer history.

The monastery of Bellelay was established in 1136 and confirmed by Pope Innocent II six years later. As early as 1192, or one century before the beginnings of the Swiss Confederation, the monks of the monastery Bellelay were first mentioned in connection with cheese. At that time they paid the annual rent on various properties with cheese made in their abbey. Time and again documents from subsequent centuries mention the use of the valuable cheese as a means of payment.