While Switzerland is the country most people associate with Gruyere's origin, primarily because of the Swiss town Gruyeres, there's more to this delicious cheese's history. About a thousand years ago, the Holy Roman Empire extended its wily grip around all of what we now know as France, Switzerland, and some of Germany, and the forests of this area were called "gruye res." Charlemagne's men sold wood to the cheesemakers of the area to power their curd cooking kettles, and the cheesemakers paid for the wood with their cheeses. These are the cheeses that we now know, eat, and love as Comte and Gruyere.
The most popular cheese in France, Comte is traditionally produced in the cool mountain reaches of Jura, where local farmers bring their Alpine milk to local cooperatives. It takes 140 gallons of milk to make one Comte cheese weighing close to 100 pounds. When the cheese is cut, it reveals a firm and supple paste that melts in the mouth, leaving behind a sweet, almost toffee-like taste. The salt is strong but balanced, and the flavor has a nutty tang.
Farm / Company: Fromageries Marcel Petite
Affineur: Jean d'Alos
Milk Type: Cow
Milk Treatment: Raw
Aging: 15 months
Size(s): 100 pound wheel