HOW WE SELECT COMTE
Marcel Petite Fort St. Antoine Comté was the first and, for a time, only cheese which we imported; it is a cheese of such singular character, quality and versatility that we built our business upon it. Our Comté does not live in the deep corners of the cheese drawer but on the refrigerator door, where it is easily accessible. We like it in sandwiches, or served simply with fruit, nuts, and bread; we cook with it in some of our favorite recipes, or serve it in a cheese course.
Unlike most Comté imported in the U.S., we choose our wheels based on a flavor profile, not on age or price. The Comté we select is at a point of ripeness where all the cheese’s beguiling flavors have come to life. Aromas of hazelnuts, fried onions and spring berries shine over an undertow of cut grass, wet earth, and straw. There is a humble, everyday perfection in these wheels; herbaceous and fruity, and kissed with deep, heavy cream, this Comté has you coming back for more.
The fort is a former subterranean army fort converted in the early sixties into a colossal aging cave more reminiscent of an underground cathedral than a place to age cheese. Sunk into the side of a hill, fortified with thick stone walls, it offers a cool, damp environment ideal for maturing cheese. For thirteen to eighteen months the cheeses sit in this carefully controlled natural environment presided over by Master Affineur Mr. Claude Querry, achieving a more complex flavor profile than is usually associated with export Comté.
HOW TO CUT AN 80LB WHEEL OF COMTE INTO HALF-POUND PORTIONS
For many more photos of Essex Comte and the Marcel Petite’s Fort Saint Antoine, click here>>