Comté (or gruyère de comté)
Jura, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France
Matured for 6 to 10 months.
Type: pressed-cooked, artisan raw milk cheese, made with unpasteurised cow’s milk.
Move over camembert, comté is one of the most popular cheeses in France with some of the highest production figures of all French AOC cheeses.
Comté is a firm pressed cheese made from the raw milk of Montbeliard cows in the Jura Mountains of France in Franche-Comté. It also goes by the name gruyere de comté. It’s produced in small, cooperative dairies, known as ‘fruitieres’ which collect the milk from farms within a 15-mile radius. They have Appellation Contrôlée (AOC) status and must be made in this region and in this style to take their name. This ‘young’ comté is matured between 6 and 10 months in ageing rooms in Pontarlier’s caves in the Jura mountains. Yes caves! The wheels of comté are taken to an ‘affineur’. This is a centuries old tradition where all of the cheese from the region is collectively aged in ageing rooms. The wheels are stored in humidity-controlled rooms to trigger fermentation that develops the flavours and aromas in the cheese. During the ageing process the cheeses continue to be washed every few days with a brine solution. After 6 to 10 months, a young comté is ready to be enjoyed.
A bit of History: Historically, wheels of comté were gathered from individual farms and villages to be aged collectively in a central location, and then later redistributed. In the beginning, this was a cooperative process for the sole purpose of feeding the local community. But around the time of the French Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, comté started to be made commercially as well.
Comté cheese is smooth, firm, supple and melts in the mouth, leaving a sweet taste. The salt is strong but balanced, and the flavour has a nutty tang.
Comté can be enjoyed best with your favourite cracker or crostini, eaten in a salad, a sandwich, with fruit, and it’s even great cooked in a fondue.
Find it in our Deli $8.20 /100g
Pontarlier’s caves in the Jura mountains, Importer: La Fromagerie Founder, and Cheeseboard serving suggestion.