“The best harvests of mountain Comté should be slowly repined, at low temperature, to reveal all their
gustative finesses. It is the notion of time serving quality.”
- Marcel Petite
Stalls of La fromagerie Hamel are holding a treasure: wheels of 15-month to 3-year old Comté. A pure delicacy ripened in Petite family's Fort Saint-Antoine or in Juraflores' s Fort des Rousses, both built in the 19th century. In those cellars, sheltered from Jura's inclemency (coldest region of France and one of the most watered), seated on rough spruce board, Comté will create its characteristic rind and will also preserved, to the best, its wild flora.
Montbeliard cows grazing in Jura's prairies are those, thanks to their milk, giving birth to the wild flora of the Comté, cheese which first appearance in History dates back to 13th century, in the communes of Levier and Deservilliers. Daily, during summer (from May to September), the cattle, pampered to the maximum, feasts on sage, vulnerary, sweet clover, sainfoin, campanula, carnation of Chartreux, centaurie, scabious and orchid: vegetation rich in carotene. The light perfume of these plants will be imprisoned in the milk and, later, in the yellow paste, which, if ripened for a long time, will reveal tens of aromas when melting in your mouth.
Petite family explains: “During ripening, our comtés are surrounded with constant attention: each wheel is observed, sounded and sorted by our chief cavists. These organoleptic controls, allied to bacteriological and physicochemical controls, will guaranty a selection allowing us to offer a large range of comtés recognizable by their paste texture quality and their taste.”
Facts of Comté
Raw milk from cow, cooked and pressed paste
450 to 500 litres of milk = 35 to 40 kilos of comté
The green belt: comté extra (15/20 or more) La fromagerie Hamel only orders this one.
The brown belt: comté which mark on 20 varies between 12 and 15
30 grams of comté = 15% of the daily recommended adult portion of proteins
Crystals found in the paste are an accumulation of amino acids (tyrosine) which forms after proteolysis (proteins reduction towards simpler and simpler molecules). They are not crystals of salt.
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Cook potatoes with skin and, when ready, peel them. Slowly cook the French shallot in butter. During this time, mash potatoes. To this potato pasty mixture, add French shallot, Comté and one yolk. Reserve. Prepare three bowls: flour in the first, two beaten eggs in the second, breadcrumbs and pistachios in the third. Form crackers with the mixture (potatoes, French shallot, Comté and yolk). Cover crackers with flour, eggs and, finally, pistachios breadcrumbs. Fry crackers. Sponge up oil. Enjoy.
This recipe was inspired from an original idea of Bernard Mure-Ravaud, entitled as World cheesemonger champion and Best craftsman of France (Grenoble, Isère).