Comté (6 Months)
A smooth, nutty cheese
A semi-hard, unpasteurized cheese from Franche-Comté in Eastern France, Comté is nutty and smooth, and easy to melt.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Pronounced “con-TAY,” Comté cheese comes from the Franche- Comté region of France, which borders Switzerland. It’s classified as an Alpine cheese, and is made with unpasteurized cow’s milk. It’s matured for a minimum of four months, to about 18 or 24 months.
It has a natural light brown rind, and a pale-yellow interior. It has a dense, smooth, and creamy texture, and is easy to melt. It exudes nutty, buttery aromas, and its flavor is fruity, nutty, and sweet.
PREPARATION AND PAIRINGS
A classic way to enjoy this gourmet cheese is to cut it into small cubes, and pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc. You can also serve it on a cheese board, with dried fruits, jams, nuts, and crusty bread. You can add it in your salads, or use it in your quiches, or tarts.
You can also use it for your French Onion Soup:
- In a sauce pan on medium heat, cook yellow onions (peeled and cut into rings) until caramelized.
- Add in minced garlic, and cook for another minute. Add in flour, stir, and let cook for a minute.
- Pour in beef stock and white wine. Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls, distributing onions equally. Put French bread cut into cubes on the top. Sprinkle grated Comté cheese all over.
- Place in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes, until top is slightly browned.
- Serve immediately.
Comté cheese has been made in Eastern France for over a thousand years. From the 13th century, it’s been produced in cooperative-style groups of farmers, called “fruitieres,” where they collect milk daily and share the milk to make the cheese. It has the highest production of any of the French AOC cheeses, with an average of 1.6 million wheels made yearly, and only 10% of those are exported outside France. It received its AOC designation in 1958.
Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the butter drawer of a refrigerator, not on the shelves themselves. This is to help regulate their temperature and humidity levels—and prevents the formation of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their original packaging. Semi-hard cheeses (including blues) should ideally be wrapped in cheese paper after opening. An alternative is to wrap them tightly in parchment paper to allow them to breathe, then loosely in aluminum foil to keep moisture out. Don’t forget to write up a label with the date you first opened the package. Replace the parchment paper every time you open the cheese. Kindly pay attention to the best before date label when you receive your cheese. Consume prior to date indicated.