At the cheese and wine tasting event with our friend, Waldemar Albrecht, The Lady received a couple wedges of President Comte which she brought home for moi, your not-so-humble Feline Foodie to taste and review. Our first tasting was in the 3-cheese Mac n Cheese she made using the Comte along with Bellwether Farms Carmody and Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar. The combination of the three cheeses created what The Man declared “The Best Mac n Cheese I have ever tasted” as he swooned out-of-control. He does that a lot; he and I are both eternally grateful that The Lady enjoys cooking for us. I would also like to thank the Cooking Channel, sister network of the Food Network, for inspiring The Lady… God Bless Cable… but I digress…
Last night, as the evening hors d’oeuvre, The Lady brought out a wedge of the President Comte with Vintner’s Kitchen Strawberry and Pinot Noir Jam and toasted Georgia Pecans (sent to us by Miss Anne and The Tall Guy). The Lady has her “everyday cheeses” which she always keeps around the manse. She has added Comte to the “must-carry” cheeses in my cheese fridge… yes I have my very own “Cheese Fridge”… The Lady thinks it’s her cheese fridge… ignorance truly is bliss…
Comte became an AOC-protected cheese in 1958 with complete regulations established in 1973. The following are the regulations that control the production of Comte (sometimes called Gruyere de Comte):
The AOC regulations state (from wikipedia.com🙂
- Only milk from Montbeliarde Cattle is permitted, and each must have at least a hectare of grazing.
- Fertilization is limited, and cows may only be fed fresh, natural feed, with no silage.
- The milk must be transported to the site of production immediately after milking.
- Renneting must be carried out within a stipulated time after milking, according to the storage temperature of the cheese.
- Only one heating of the milk may occur, and that must be during renneting. It may be heated to no more than 40˚C.
- Salt may only be applied directly to the surface of the cheese.
- A casein label containing the date of production must be attached to the side of the cheese, and maturing must continue for at least four months.
- No grated cheese may be sold under the Comté name.
As mentioned, this is an everyday cheese around the manse and for good reason. This cheese is quite versatile. It can be the centerpiece of any respectable cheese plate and then go directly into cooking mode. Around the manse, we use it in both capacities.
This cheese is nutty and sweet; it is a bit milder than Gruyere and lacks the slight “metallic” after taste of Gruyere (the metallic after taste should NOT be interpreted as bad; it’s not; it’s simply a characteristic of that cheese). The paste is a deep ivory color and melts on the palate, leaving you craving for more. When you pair this cheese with a jam, such as the Vintner’s Kitchen Strawberry and Pinot Noir Jam mentioned above, the combination of sweet and savory is out-of-this-world (one of the reasons I love living in this world as opposed to the Mother Ship).
It’s a slam dunk here at the manse: The Lady, The Man and I all love President Comte… although, as we all know, it’s only my opinion that really counts…
Serving Suggestions: I’ve actually covered this but a few more specifics: perfect on a cheese plate; perfect in a mac n cheese; perfect in au gratins; perfect with jams, mustards, olives and nuts… it’s pretty much perfect no matter how you serve it.
Wine Pairing: This cheese can be paired with many different wines: Sancerre, Merlot, a bold Cabernet Sauvignon and even champagne. As is to be expected, The Lady prefers 14 Hands Merlot… surprise…
Beer Pairing: A dunkel or a porter are nice pairings for this cheese.
Source: Raw milk from the Montbeliarde Cow.
Bit of trivia: There is a long-standing rivalry between Comte and Gruyere as to which is better…
(Stay Tuned: we are only 4 posts and pages away from our 500th post here (doesn’t include our sister recipe blog, cheesemonger recipes). We have big plans for 500!!)