It’s One of the Most Popular Cheeses in France But What Is Comté Cheese?

What is Comté cheese and how the heck are you supposed to pronounce it? Here’s everything you need to know about Comté before hitting the cheese aisle. 

If you’re looking for the perfect cheese for sandwiches, fondue, and a cheese board? There’s one that can do it all: Comté. But what is Comté cheese? What does Comté cheese taste like? How do you pronounce Comté? Can you eat Comté rind? Let’s spill the tea on Comté!

What is Comté cheese?

Comté may not be super well known in the U.S., but it’s a delicious, versatile, cheese that everyone should be eating more. First though, you need to know how to say it. Comté is pronounced “kaam-TEE.”

Comté is a relatively firm but flexible cheese, with a soft yellow color. It’s a French mountain cheese made around the Swiss border (specifically, Comté must be made in the Jura Massif region of eastern France), so it’s considered an Alpine cheese. It has an AOC designation, or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlé, which means the cheese has to meet strict regulations set by the French government in order to be called Comté. The French eat more Comté cheese than any other cheese with the AOC designation.

Comté is made with unpasteurized milk that can only come from certain breeds of cows, Montbéliarde or French Simmental. The cows’ diets are strictly monitored so as to achieve the perfect milk to make Comté. Each cow must have 2.5 acres to graze on and they have to be fed fresh grass in the summer and dry hay in winter, with a tiny supplement of grain. Then, the cows must be milked within 16 miles from the cheesemaking facilities. Wow, these cows have it pretty good. How do I get that job?

What does Comté taste like?

Comté cheese is an extremely complex cheese with many subtle flavors that change as it ages. Generally, Comté is aged at least four months, but more mature Comté wheels can be left to age for up to two years. Young Comté has a smooth, nutty flavor. More mature Comté gets a little spicier, a little nuttier, a little sweeter, and saltier, and it can develop some undertones of fruit. 

Comté is a great cheese to melt. It’s delicious in a gooey omelet or just melted over some potatoes. It’s equally as good served plain on a cheese board. Generally the older, more complex cuts of Comté are eaten plain while younger Comté is melted. 

What is Comté cheese like?

Many people compare Comté to Gruyère and Fontina, which have similar textures and melt in the same way. Emmental is also sometimes used as a Comté substitute because it has that nutty flavor with a little fruity kick. Comté, Gruyère, and Emmental all complement each other very well, as these three cheeses are often used together to make cheese fondue

Can you eat Comté rind?

You can eat the rind of Comté cheese, it won’t kill you, but you may not want to. It’s pretty hard and not the tastiest texture. A lot of people will throw the rind into a broth. Personally, I only eat the rind. But I’m a bit of a cheese rebel. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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