How have we been talking about cheese for almost one year without mentioning Comté? It has definitely been eaten in the last year, so let’s remedy that absence today. Comté first appeared on my radar in 2010 while living in Paris. A food blogger I love mentioned a 30-month aged Comté that he had picked up on rue Montorgueil. My curiosity piqued, I ran out the following Saturday, bought a chunk and brought it back to my little apartment in the 20th (of course picking up a crusty baguette on the walk home. Sigh…) From that night on, I have been very loyal to Comté – it’s my cheese-y boyfriend, my comfort snack, the cheese I eat on repeat.
Comté is produced in the Jura Massif region of Eastern France using unpasteurized cow’s milk. It is matured to perfection in caves where something magical happens in the silence and darkness to give it its nutty, buttery flavor and (usually) silky texture. It is ripened for a minimum of 4 months up to 30 months. My local cheese shop sells 15 month-aged chunks, so I have a feeling the 30-month aged is rare and perhaps sold only in France. I could be very wrong about that, so on your next Comté shopping trip, look for the old stuff!
Comté is a very nice cheese on its own, but it also pairs beautifully with a variety of wines, fruits and other delectable things that I will soon be sharing in this very space. Stay tuned!