Much has been written about the joys of Comté, and deservedly so: it’s one of France’s most popular cheeses and a favourite with young and old alike. Traditionally, Comté was consumed at a fairly young age. Nowadays it has become fashionable in upscale shops to feature older wheels, ranging in age from 12 months up to two or more years.
The flavour varies tremendously from one producer to another, based on many factors such as terroir, seasonality, and the ripening facility, as well as the particular affineur in charge of its maturity. The permutations are so various that the Comté Cheese Association has developed a “flavour wheel”, a colour-coded chart that identifies over 80 distinct flavours found in Comté, including some decidedly un-cheesy descriptors such as tobacco, leek, apricot and meat broth. Perfect any time of day (or night!), Comté is sure to please and will always provide a unique and memorable taste experience.
Veteran cheesemonger Patrick Ambrosio is the managing partner of Village Cheese Merchant in Rockville Centre, New York. www.villagecheesemerchant.com