September 11, 2007

La Fête du Fromage - Comté and Ossau-Iraty

They may look similar, but these two cheeses, Comté and Ossau-Iraty, produced on opposite sides of France, are quite different.

Comté, on the right, is one of France's most popular cheeses. After production in cooperatives, called fruitières, in the villages of the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, each cheese must pass strict quality tests before being allowed into the marketplace. It takes the daily production of 30 cows to make one 80 pound (35 kilo) wheel of Comté.

It's flavor is sweet and caramelized with a slightly nutty and salty tang, and it melts in your mouth. In the kitchen, this is an extremely versatile cheese. It is delicious cut into cubes and added to salads, eaten with fruit, melted in a sandwich or used to make fondue.
Really wonderful!
A glass of fruity Beaujolais or white Sancerre pair nicely with Comté.

Ossau-Iraty, on the left, is an unpasteurized ewe's milk cheese that is produced in two areas of the Pyrénées in southwestern France: Ossau Valley in the Béarn and the hills of Iraty in the Basque country. Historians maintain that this cheese has been produced for more than a thousand years.

It has a soft, supple texture with a mild, nutty flavor that we both loved. I wasn't expecting much from Ossau-Iraty, but it is scrumptious!
Savor a cold glass of Jurançon or a red Madiran with this cheese. Pin It


MPABNER said...

I am finally able to participate in your weekly "Fête"! The other night, I met some friends at a new restaurant in Tampa, The Grape. It is mostly for wine enthusiasts. However, they have a great menu. You can order various cheeses and pair them with different wines. I ordered 2 different cheeses - A Saint Andre, and a Caciotta al Tartufo. Preferring a cheese that is creamier, I preferred the Saint Andre. However, the Caciotta was delicious! I did enjoy truffles, however. It is always a treat to have those.

SneauxFlocken said...

Comte is one of my favorite cheeses ever. I love your Fromage posts because I'm a cheese-aholic. I've been reading your blog for a couple months now, but I think this is the first time I've commented. Lovely blog!

Loulou said...

I love hearing cheese tasting stories! Saint André is divine and I'm sure the truffle cheese was delicious.
Let me know if you have a chance to taste some more.

thanks for saying hello and for the nice compliments! I'm glad you're enjoying the fromage posts.
I'm not a cheese-aholic yet...just give me time! :)