It's Not Always Just Cheese
Written by Kevin Kapusi Starow
Many of us are well aware of the usual selection of cheeses found in our local supermarkets, and grocery stores. Well, the ones that actually sell cheese, that is. Then you will probably be well aware of the type of cheese known as Swiss cheese. The ones with the large holes in them! Well, compte cheese is a Swiss style of cheese known as an alpine cheese variety, it doesn't have the holes of a traditional Swiss cheese, though it is from the region.
Rather comte is more like a French Gruyere cheese which is fantastic for grilling, oh yummy. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth salivate, delicious!
The texture of the cheese, inside of the rind, or outer cover, is what I would consider being of medium firmness, with noticeable flexibility. The taste is definitely not harsh, very mild for cheese, with a hint of sweetness from the mountain grasses. It is very distinctive.
Compte is made in large disks measuring between 40 cm to 70 cm, with a height of approximately 10cm. They average in weight of about 50kg each, so you are getting a whole lot of cheese there.
Control of the cheese is very strict with the milk of only two cow varieties being permitted to be used. They are the Montbeliarde, the French Simmental or a cross breed of these two varieties listed. Moo Moo!
Talk about being environmentally friendly there must not be more than 1.3 cows per hectare of pasture. Plus the cows must only be fed on natural pasture, without any processed feed.
Milk from a set district (terroir), known as Franche -Comte can only be used in the production of this cheese. They even have a panel of tasters who regularly meet to ensure the quality of this cheese is maintained.
Apparently, I have been told that there are 70+ flavour profiles that can be distinguished in this cheese. I am not sure if I can distinguish anywhere near that, for me, it just has this wonderful grassy nuttiness taste to it. Perhaps I am not in any way a cheese aficionado, though I do know what I like, and I think that is all that counts really!
Due to its melting qualities, Compte cheese is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, and is, or should be a staple in the prince of grilled sandwiches. The Croque monsieur, which is a fancy, very fancy ham and cheese sandwich, rates high on the ruminator scale.
Compte is also the perfect cheese to use in croquettes, by simply adding it, grated to a bechamel sauce. Which is then folded through the potato base used for your croquette (fritter). I personally love making a smoked trout or a cod croquette, whilst using compte cheese, it is delicious.
If you are a traditionalist, compte is one of the cheeses that is essential in a fondue. Though I admit this dish has fallen out of favour since its bacterization during the 1970s, though I think it is still relevant today. You do need basic equipment to make a good fondue dish, but it is not really expensive, or difficult. There are some easy recipes online to help you out if you are game to give it a go.
You can also use compte in quiches, something as simple as a quiche Lorraine, simple, and devastatingly tasty. Sprinkled over a salad of bitter leaves such as a chicory salad with a garlic and anchovy dressing, spectacular.
Personally, I love to combine cheese with simple things like horn peppers, crusty bread, tomato and cucumber. Rustic, yet uber tasty and so so satisfying. Try it out for yourself if you have not yet had the pleasure to experience this cheese go seek it out today. Ensure it is a real variety and not a pre-packaged generic cheese that they have labelled as Compte.
You will not be sorry!
It's Not Always Just Cheese It's Not Always Just Cheese It's Not Always Just Cheese