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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mont-d'Or AOP – One France’s Best Mild Cheeses.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Mont d’Or cheese.

The Mont-d'Or AOP  cheese, (also called the Vacherin du Haut-Doubs) is a soft, creamy, 45% fat, mild, great tasting, non-pasteurized, cow’s milk cheese that is produced with unpasteurized milk in the winter( from 15 August through 31 March).
The cheese’s pate is a light yellow with the rind an ivory to light brown.  It is aged for a minimum of three weeks, and when fully ripe the cheese has a white mold on top and is just beginning to be runny. The cheese is sold in a 500 – 600-gram (18 – 21 grams) a spruce pine-wood box in which it is aged and which contributes to the cheese's smell and flavor; larger cheeses are made for restaurants.
The cheese plate is ready.

The cheese may be on the cheese trolley or a cheese plate or eaten with a spoon as the main course with potatoes and vegetables or as a dessert, often when lightly heated.
For the winter the cows will have been brought down from their mountain pastures to warm barns still over 700 meters high in the French Alps.  In the winter the cows produce less milk but their cream has a concentrated, intensified flavor and that makes this an exceptional cheese. The cheese was developed hundreds of years ago, probably in the 13th century, by monks. Mont d’Or will be on menus and in cheese shops from September to April.

The Mont d’Or cheese production team.
Mont-d'Or AOC on French menus:

A lightly cooked Mont d’Or
Escargots Mont d’Or Beurre Maison – Snails Prepared with Mont d’Or Cheese and the house’s special butter sauce recipe
Mont d'Or et Saucisse de Morteau -  Mont d’Or cheese served with the Morteau AOP sausage. The Saucisse de Morteau is a pork salami type sausage that may be eaten without any additional cooking. For this dish, the sausage will have been cooked again.
Mont d'Or, Salade, Pomme de Terre Grenaille, Cornichons et Charcuterie - Mont d’Or cheese, salad, small pebble size new potatoes, cornichons along with cold meats and slices of sausages.
Your French-English travel dictionary and Google Translate may translate grenaille as a shot (the type fired from a shotgun); nonetheless, Pomme de Terre Grenaille potatoes are not that tiny.  Pomme de Terre Grenaille are very small new potatoes, more like pebbles, and in the season they should not be missed.
 Raviole de Mont d'Or, Vinaigrette à la Brisure de Truffe et son Mesclun de Jeunes -  Ravioli stuffed with Mont d’Or cheese and served with a mesclun salad made with salad green shoots accompanied by a vinaigrette dressing flavored with flakes of truffle.

A perfectly ripe Mont d’Or
The Haut-Doubs
Mont d'Or comes from the area of the Haut-Doubs in the department of Doubs in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. (The region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté was created on the 1-1-2016 by joining together the departments of Burgundy and Franche-Comté  in one super region). One of the Jura Mountains, which separate France and Switzerland is called the Mont d'Or hence the name.
A similar cheese from Switzerland.
On the Swiss side of the Alps, in Switzerland, they make a somewhat similar cheese. It is made with thermized milk and called the Vacherin Mont d'Or.  Thermized (or thermalized) milk is made by heating milk at a low temperature for a short period. Nevertheless, for import to the United States thermized milk is treated like unpasteurized milk and the cheese must have been aged for over 60 days. The arguments about whether the first Mont d’Or cheese was created on the Swiss or French side of the Alps will go on forever.  For more about buying cheese in France and taking it home click here.

Other famous cheeses from the Franche-Comté include:


A Mont d’Or farmhouse in the winter.

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Bryan G. Newman

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