Comté may be one of the most diverse cheeses you ever put in your fridge. The Alpine-style raw cow’s milk cheese is France’s most popular fromage, enjoyed by 40% of the population. It’s popular for many reasons, not the least of which is its wide spectrum of flavors and aromas (83 at last count), ranging from roasted onion to grapefruit to wet wool, and everything in between.
As you might guess, a cheese with such significance to France has a protected status. Both the production and aging of Comté is governed by appellation d’origine contrôlée regulations, ensuring that all Comté must come from the Jura region of France. Meredith Rottersmann, general manager of Cambridge’s Formaggio Kitchen was able to visit a Comté affineur in France to see how the large wheels are aged.
All cheesemongers on our counters hear a tremendous amount about Fort Saint Antoine where Marcel Petite ages their finest wheels – it is a storied and highly respected place for us – where Philippe Goux, General Manager, and Claude Querry, Chef de Cave, bring wheels of this extraordinary mountain cheese to its full potential.
Aging the cheeses involves regular brine baths to help develop the protective rind for a minimum of 90 days, until the correct dense, firm texture is achieved and the 80 to 90 pound wheel hits the desired flavor profile.
If you can’t make the trip to France anytime soon, there’s still plenty you can do with Comté at home. Whip up breakfast on the go with Comté and walnut-fig jam on crusty bread, or try savory Comté, tomato, and caramelized onion tarts. Still hungry? Comté stuffed pork makes for an elegant meal next time you’re entertaining.
Photo by Meredith Rottersmann