Weekend cooking – Comté cheese (video)

OK, it’s not necessarily cooking, but if you like, you can cook with Comté cheese. It’s one of the varieties of cheese that I really enjoy and it’s also accessible outside of France. Personally I prefer an aged Comté and that is somewhat more difficult to find.

If you’re not familiar with it, Comté comes from the Jura region of France along the border with Switzerland. The region is more known for it’s cheese than its wine but if you want a perfect match, try and locate a bottle of wine from the Jura region and enjoy it with the local cheese. It’s just one of those combinations that works, as you so often see in France.

A few years ago I started buying wine from a brother and sister duo who produce wine in the region. I’m partial to a simple white but I usually buy a bottle or two of vin jaune, which is a lot more expensive. On it’s own it tastes a lot like a good (dry) Sherry and it’s not always to everyone’s liking. But serve the vin jaune with a piece of aged Comté and there are few combinations as good as this.

For starters, a fun video on the aging process of the massive wheels of cheese.

What I love about this and some of the other videos from the cheese producers of Comté is the appreciation of their products. Food is often very local in France, as is food and wine in general. People are very proud of what they produce and it’s been that way for centuries.

If you like the aging video above, they have a YouTube channel (comtecheese) that includes a few other videos about the cheese, including storing the cheese and even the correct way to slice the cheese. With such large wheels, they need to be precise enough to make sure the cheese slices are consistent.

A fun fact related to Comté is that the milk from the same cows is used to produce Mont d’Or cheese, a delicious, gooey cheese. It has a very different taste and consistency and is produced during the months of lower milk production.

We’re currently in the Mont d’Or season (same with Brie) so just as the French will eat seasonal vegetables and fruit, they also often eat seasonal cheeses. You can find many of these cheeses all year but they will be best during certain times of the year.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • hollywoodstein

    I dropped my last bottle in the cellar once and kneeled down and picked up a shard of glass and sipped out the thimbleful of wine using my tongue to filter out the slivers of glass. It’s that good.

  • hollywoodstein

    It’s a shame most Americans don’t ever get to taste the best produce of other nations. Access is much improved, but it is still mainly the province of the well off. How many Americans have smelled a fresh cracked wheel of the finest Parmigiano Reggiano. I would guess around one percent.

    Then maybe we could get away from USA we’re number one f*ck yeah, everyone else sucks.

    If only we could send our citizens around the world for something other than war.

  • hollywoodstein

    Then there is a reason you keep going back.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    this will be my 10th year..

  • hollywoodstein

    I should have put a Warning: Whiplash Segue Ahead sign up first.

  • hollywoodstein

    sigh.

  • hollywoodstein

    If you are there again have three friends go in for a bottle of the 75 d’Yquem. You won’t be sorry.

  • hollywoodstein

    Botrytis cinerea, the noble rot. It’s funny how some of man’s greatest foods come from rot. Rotten milk equals cheese. Rotten grapes equals wine. Rotten wheat equals bread.

    Always wanted to open a wine bar called the Noble Rot, but was persuaded out of the name. Now I understand there is one called that in Oregon. Then I offered to call it Culture after the innoculations of yeast needed for wine and bread and cheese. But again I was persuaded that it was either too subtle or if you did get it, too snotty.
    Genius is never understood in its own time.

  • hollywoodstein

    That’s one of the fun things about a vertical tasting of Sauternes they range from a youthful yellow straw to golden honey to blackstrap molasses when they are old. And it is always a privilege to source wines at the site, and taste how much better they are, especially older bottles than those that have been kicked around the world to shippers, distributors, wine shops, various owners, auction houses, etc.

    Sauternes are actually a bargain when you consider what goes into producing them.

    If you are helping with the epamprage, then you really are getting dirt under your fingernails. If anything it makes you appreciate all the more.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    I actually was in a “Cave” in Barsac where we did a tasting of Sauternes. I bought a few “half bottles” of different chateaux, but they had in cases, Sauternes that were pre WW1…the amazing thing is that the sugar caramelizes over time and the really old ones are inky black! For a cheap alternative, on the other side of the Dordogne River, there is a very nice sweet wine called St. Croix-du-Monte. I have worked at two chateaux in the Monbazilac regions, as a picker and a porteur….it’s very interesting learning how to select the perfectly “rotted” grapes each day. That vendange can go into late October and November…
    My work at Chateau Vieux Chevrol in Neac starts again in late April when we do the empamphrage…..

  • OtterQueen

    This is strange. I’ve never heard of Comté, but I came across some in the grocery store and decided to try it. Then I got home and found this video on Americablog. Having no vin jaune on hand, I’ve been enjoying it with some walnuts and a nice fruity pinot noir. This is good shit.

  • Asterix

    You score 50% on this one, Chris:

    “If you’re not familiar with it, Comté comes from the Jura region of France along the border with Switzerland. The region is more known for it’s cheese than its wine”

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I am weeping

  • Baal

    I love Vin Jaune but to my knowledge you can only buy it in France. Jura region is wonderful.

  • hollywoodstein

    It’s expensive, but if you haven’t already, it really is worth the once in a lifetime splurge to try d’Yquem from a good year if you come across it in your travels.

  • hollywoodstein

    I love when people who know their stuff get a chance to talk about it. The use of the descriptors to convey the smell and taste were spot on. Memories.
    That’s why political news is such a disaster. Is David Brooks really the sharpest conservative out there. Is Peggy Noonan really the best op ed writer. Is Wolff Blitzer really the best newsman CNN can come up with. Do producers and runners really have so few numbers in their rolodex. Would it kill them to get someone on that actually knows something about what they are talking about, instead of just opining.
    I know the function of the news is not to inform, but whether by simple ratings or a manufacturing consent metric, is this really the best that they can do. There are plenty of photogenic, entertaining, credentialed people with deep knowledge of many subjects. Why can’t they be on my tv.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    I saw this and was going to suggest the vin jaune combo, then I read your article. I’ve only seen Vin Jaune in stores in NYC in the US and it was pretty pricey. For the last 10 years, I have worked 2 months a year for a Chateau in Neac, France which is La Lande de Pomerol….we have a lot of degustations during the vendange and last year, we featured a night that was Vin Jaunes and Tokay….very interesting….This year we are organizing a day outing to Barsac to sample Sauternes…Last year I had the opportunity to try a 45 year old Sauterne….

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