If you like cheese, you’re probably familiar with Comté. This French semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk has been produced for hundreds of years, and is still traditionally made in more than 190 cheese dairies, known as the “fruitières” in the Jura region of eastern France. The Jura plateau of the Franche-Comté is the most mountainous (and coldest) region of France stretching from the eastern edge of Burgundy through the foothills of the Jura Alps to the Alps along the border with Switzerland.
It is the first French AOC (label of origin) cheese, guaranteeing the quality of the cheese. Each 40 kilo (about 88 pound) wheel of Comté is made from the milk of many different small farms. The milk is collected at a fruitière, where it is manipulated and transformed under strictly controlled conditions. After its fabrication, the huge wheels of cheese are transferred to a limited number of cellars spread across the region, where they will age anywhere from 4 – 18 months. The taste is variable depending on the age and the season of the milk. It’s typically described as salty, mild, and fruity. Some cheese have strong hazelnut flavors, while others have subtle hints of nutmeg. Wine pairings? Dry whites and lighter reds work beautifully with Comté.
Join us for this first of two episodes covering this fascinating region. We’ll learn some of the history of this region, and what makes this part of France special, but more importantly, how this translates to Comté itself.