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.