Finest Comté matured by Marcel Petite in the Jura mountains for 12 to 16 months. Medium flavour with smooth, firm texture. Raw cow’s milk. The cheese’s similarity to Gruyère has earned it the nickname ‘Gruyère de Comté’. All of the Comté in Sheridan’s comes from the most celebrated affineurs in Franche Comté, Marcel Petite. This company has been making cheese in the region since the 1840’s, and aging other farmer’s cheeses since 1932.
Both of the Comtés we sell are aged in the renowned Fort Saint Antoine, in Franche Comté, some 1100 metres above sea level. Originally constructed for military purposes in the 1870’s, Marcel Petite have been aging Comtés here since 1965. The solid stone walls and cool mountain air of the Fort Sainte Antoine make it an ideal place in which to age these enormous cheeses. Nowadays it is generally agreed that the best Comtés in the world are those aged by Fromageries Marcel Petite in the Fort Sainte Antoine. Similar to Parmesan affineurs, Marcel Petite uses the ancient technique of tapping the wheels with a wooden hammer to determine their quality, and therefore their aging potential. This is an incredibly difficult skill to learn and takes a well-tuned ear, and years of practice to perfect.
In terms of flavour the 10-14 month Comte (which we often sell up to 16 months) is livelier on the palate due to the higher moisture content in the cheese. By contrast the Extra Mature Comte at 16 months and beyond is drier, more crystalline due to proteolysis and has a longer finish. Conversely it tends to be a little less lively on the palate. Both are superb cheeses, and preference is really down to which style you prefer. The traditional Comte accompaniment is an Arbois, a white wine from the Jura, although a chunky oaked Chardonnay can be a fantastic match.