World Cheese Encyclopaedia - Each Sunday learn all about a cheese in season.
This week Mont d'Or, or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, from France, or Vacherin Mont d'Or from Switzerland.
Made from: Cow's Milk raw in France, thermized in Switzerland
Texture: soft and creamy
Certification: AOC, AOP in France, AOP in Switzerland
Season: September to May
The Massif du Mont d'Or, rises to a height of 1,450 meters. A region of forests and rich pastures, for 100 years the Mont d’Or cheese has been made by hand by artisan cheesemakers. It is a soft, rich, seasonal cheese made from cow's milk in Switzerland or France, usually in villages of the Jura region (an origin that has been officially controlled since 1981), and has a grayish-yellow washed rind. It typically contains 45 to 50 percent milk fat (in dry matter), and is produced between August 15 and March 15, and sold between September 10 and May 10. The Swiss Vacherin Mont d'Or is generally made with thermized milk (pasteurization is not allowed), while the French Vacherin du Haut-Doubs is unpasteurized. It is traditionally made in the winter months when the cows come down from Alpage (mountain pastures) and are kept undercover & fed exclusively on hay & not fresh grass. It is often served warmed in its original packaging and eaten like fondue.
Over the years there has been a heated argument who made the Vacherin first, the French or the Swiss. The cheese is always presented in a wooden box and bound with spruce hoops. The strips of spruce are harvested by specialists called "sanglier"
The spruce hoops that encircle the cheese give the cheese their perfume. The hoops should be a band of 33 mm wide with the length depending on the size of the cheese :
42 cm for a box for 2 people
55 cm for 4 persons ;
85 cm for 8 persons ;
up to 1 mètre for the large cheeses (2 kg) sold for cutting.
These hoops should never be removed, even when serving, as they enable the cheese to be contained. It is sheer delight to the palate with a velvety and buttery taste. The surface of the cheese is moist, with a rind that is golden and slightly reddish. The pate is a soft yellow and creamy. A cheese to be eaten with a small spoon.
How to enjoy it
Mont d’Or goes best with white wines such as Fendant du Valais (Suisse), Cotes du Jura, or simply Champagne.
Baked Mont d’Or or La Boîte Chaude (Hot Box)
Ingredients – serves 4
1 large Mont d’Or or Vacherin
1 kg grated potatoes
1 Morteau sausage or other charcuterie
400 ml white wine of Jura or pear liqueur
1 or 2 cloves of garlic minced
Aluminum foil to protect the Mont d’Or in the oven
1 – Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2 – Peel and cook the potatoes for 30 mn. In another pot cook the sausage for 30 mins.
3 – Wrap the box of Mont d’Or in aluminum foil. Pierce a hole in the center about 2 cm in diameter and add the minced garlic and the white wine or pear liqueur.
4 – Put the Mont d’Or in the oven and bake it for about 30 minutes – it should be very runny. Serve the Mont d’Or hot straight out of the oven with the potatoes, sausage and a green salad.
Source: Fromages.com, Les Fromages de Suisse, Androuet, Wikipedia.