French Cheese, Comte- Anyone?
One time or another we have eaten cheese. Cheese is one of the subtle and varied foods in the world. It is buttery, bland, creamy, pungent, sharp, rich, salty, innocuous or lightly delicate. Its aroma, can be overpowering, virtually unnoticeable or delicately aromatic. It can be hard or soft, or milky runny that we need a spoon to eat it. Cheese can be eaten with for snacks inserted in between loaf bread, or a gourmet meal or a superb wine companion.
In France there is what we call Comte cheese or French gryere, Gryere de Comte. Actually gryere is neither French nor Swiss. It has been made since Charlemagne’s time.
This cheese is aged for more than three months.
As with anything French everything is done with style. Everything, cheese included, is made with such flourish that is considered substandard to be not so. I am referring to the eyes or the holes in a French cheese called comte cheese. Comte cheese should have holes sizes like that of a small cherry or pea. And these holes are not achieved if affinage is curtailed or there is too low temperature.
I tasted comte cheese cut into small cubes with a glass of white wine. Perfect! Anyone? It has ivory-colored paste, caramalized and nutty flavor, and holes with sizes like that of hazel nuts. And it was said so that this is best eaten after 30 months it was made.
Comte cheese must pass the specifications of AOC or the Apellation d’origine controlee or controlled term of origin. AOC gives the standards of the comte cheese. Five percent of the cheese produced failed the AOC standard.
AOC state that comte cheese should only be made by milk from Montbeliarde. And individual cows should have the minimum of one hectares of grazing. Imagine that?! And these cows eat only natural, fresh food with no silage. From the milking of the cows, to transportation and to production in the site are under standard time to be followed. These are just a few of the AOC’s regulations.
There is nothing more French than Comte cheese. Tourists who have not tasted comte cheese cheated themselves with this best French delicacy.