Comté Cheese: A Popular Treat From France
Image Credit: Unsplash

Though French artisan cheeses are renowned for their deliciousness, did you know that some French cheese varieties may soon go extinct? Most people won't need much convincing to support such a delectable cause. And Comté is a good place to start if you want to save French cheese from extinction because it was one of the first cheeses to be covered by the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC). From the Franche-Comté area of eastern France, close to the Swiss border, comes the pressed semi-hard cheese known as Comté. It has a creamy, whitish interior with a dusty brown peel and a moderate flavour that is just a little bit sweet.

Since Comté received the AOC classification in 1952, only cheeses from that region and those that adhere to a rigid set of requirements may use the name Comté. As of 2005, there were 188 affineurs, also known as "agers," and 175 registered producers that adhered to a rigid set of requirements that allowed them to use the name Comté. Although it is frequently shipped to large dairy firms to be matured in industrial cellars, the majority of Comté is created in small village fruitières or dairies using essentially the same production techniques as hundreds of years ago.

The AOC imposes rigorous regulations on Comté manufacture. It must meet a number of requirements, including being prepared with fresh milk from Montbéliarde or French Simmental cows, or hybrids of the two. There should be no more than 1.3 cows per hectare of grassland, and the cows must only be fed fresh, natural feed. It is classified as a Swiss-type or Alpine cheese since it is from a region near the Swiss border and partly owes its distinctive flavour to the terroir or local environment.

The flavour is delicate but rich, with savoury and fruity undertones and roasted hazelnut and caramelised butter aromas. It melts exceptionally well and is wonderful in fondues and raclettes, like many Swiss-style kinds of cheese.

Varieties Of Comté

Winter and summer Comté are the two primary varieties. The variations are due to the cows' diets, as they consume hay produced from the same pasture land during the winter and grasses and wildflowers during the summer. Winter Comté is gentler and milkier, whereas summer Comté has a more earthy flavour and a more golden colour.


Younger Comté is a fantastic melting cheese, so Gruyere and Emmenthal are frequently added to create fondue. They also serve mac and cheese, omelettes, and grilled cheese sandwiches. The older types can be used in mac and cheese when combined with other cheeses, but they are also ideal for grating over veggies and casseroles because they are tougher and don't melt nearly as smoothly as cheddar or Parmesan do. Comté is a fantastic cheese for a cheese platter because it is an excellent cheese for nibbling.


Comté should be kept between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warmer than the temperature inside a refrigerator. However, your fridge will have to suffice as your kitchen counter is certainly warmer than 55 F. The cheese should be wrapped in wax paper or parchment and kept in a closed container in the refrigerator's cheese drawer. Before serving, let it sit for an hour at room temperature for the finest flavour.