By Wini Moranville
If you’ve ever tasted fondue and thought, “What is all the fuss about?” do yourself a favor: Go to Gateway Market or The Cheese Shop of Des Moines and ask for an aged Comté cheese from France. A great cheese makes all the difference.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: A French cheese for a classic Swiss dish? Let’s not forget that France has its share of the Alps, too, and food lovers there enjoy the Alpine specialty in winter as much as the Swiss do. But rather than using quintessential Swiss cheeses (like Gruyère and Emmenthaler), they’d use their own cheeses, including Comté, a Gruyère-like cheese made in France’s lush pasturelands in the Jura Massif region.
Comté is aged four to 24 months (generally longer than most Swiss Gruyères), and the longer the cheese ages, the more its complex fruit, hazelnut and toffee notes come through. These flavors intensify even more when melted, making fondue a head-spinningly good way to serve Comté. Fortunately, both Gateway and The Cheese Shop purvey well-aged versions of the cheese. Get extra, as it’s a marvelous melting cheese, good in anything from twice-baked potatoes to panini.
Photo courtesy of CIGC/Comté Cheese Association.