Comté Calling

Comté is hands-down one of my favorite cheeses. It's both nutty and fruity at the same time, and its elastic, semi-firm texture makes it a perfect melting cheese (it's often a key component in a fondue). It's almost identical to its more famous cousin, Gruyère, which is what the Swiss call the cheese. But just over the Alps in the Franche-Comté region of France, they call it Comté.

The manufacture of Comté is fascinating. The A.O.C. version can only be produced with the milk of the brown and white Montbeliarde cow, a breed indigenous to Franche-Comté. The cheese’s origins go back to the time of the 12th century where the long winters of the Jura Massif forced the inhabitants to find a way of transforming milk into a rugged cheese that wouldn't spoil easily. The best Comté is made from the summer milk of the cows that graze the fertile mountain slopes dotted with luscious wildflowers.

While Comtè has been readily available in the U.S., it hasn't been as available in other places. For the first time ever, official A.O.C. Comtè will be available in the U.K., so for all you CurdNerds readers in the mother country, it's time to check out this fantastic and legendary cheese!