Comte is the most eaten cheese in France. A very rare and special cheese, only the best affinneurs in France can produce the best tasting Comte in the country.
Comte is rumored to have been made for centuries, dating as far back as the time of Charlemagne. Although an ancient cheese, Comte comes with a very sharp and modern flavor. It has an ivory colored paste with scattered holes the size of a hazelnut. It has a complex and nutty taste, but has a caramelized flavor which makes it pleasing to the palate.
Comte is a firm pressed cheese made from raw milk, produced from the generously lush green Jura region of France. It is the most popular cheese in France, currently having different distinct flavors including apricot, chocolate, butter, cream, and grilled bread. Comte is a perfect appetizer cut into small cubes. It is a traditional fondue cheese, but is also great when chunked, melted, or grated.
Marcel Petite Affinneurs have been practicing the art of aging Comte for more than a hundred years. In the 60’s, they took over Fort Saint-Antoine, a fort build in 1879 as protection against a possible Prussian assault from Switzerland. After taking possession of the fort, Marcel Petite had a roof build over the courtyard and covered it with soil. As soon as the aging operations started, the affinneur had about 300 wheels on hand.
Mr. Petite revolutionized the way aging cheese was done in France. He started to age wheels of his Comte for longer periods of time at lower temperatures. The detailed and thorough maturing process spearheaded by Marcel Petite allows the cheese makers control over the Comte, specifying its age, its flavor and aroma.
Each wheel of Comte has the fruitier number, the month, as well as the year of production embedded on its side. After the wheels are produced and branded, they are sold by affineurs or cheese agers, who store the cheese for many months to ripen. Each affineur lives and dies by their reputation for finding and caring for the best cheeses available, and among the Comte affineur elite, no one stand as high as Marcel Petite.
An elaborate process is followed before a wheel of Comte passes the industry standards. At Fort Saint-Antoine, the head cheesemonger leads a staff of five tasters who spend every day sampling and tasting about 300 wheels of cheese just to determine how to proceed with each individual wheel. After tasting, the tasters decide how much longer they are going to age the wheels. It is this process with careful attention to detail that makes the Marcel Petite Comte the best in the world.
There are many companies selling cheese in the United States, but none have made the effort to go through as much hassle as the Marcel Petite Affineurs have. A Marcel Petite Comte captures the real flavor of France. Taste and find out yourself; get your own wheel of Comte today!