The Mont d'Or cheese: Introduction
The Mont d’Or cheese is also called Vacherin de Joux or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs. Its name comes from the nature of the milk and the proximity of the Massif of Mont d’Or which is 1461 meters high. The cheese is cylindrical in shape and weighs between 750 grams and 1.5kg. It is matured for one month in a cool cheese cellar and is washed periodically. When half-matured, the Mont d’Or cheese should be able to be eaten with a spoon after having removed the rind with the end of a knife, following the circumference of the cheese.
Exterior appearance of the Mont d’Or cheese: rosy and fine
Interior appearance of the Mont d’Or cheese: tender and runny
Texture of the Mont d’Or cheese: soft
Taste of the Mont d’Or cheese: mild and balsamic.
The first written traces of the Mont d’Or cheese come from the 18th Century. It appeared at the table of Lois XV who liked it for its finesse and unctuous texture. This traditional France-Comté cheese is has been made for several centuries by the Haut-Doubs. These are the farmers of the Massif of Mont d’Or who invented the cheese. At the beginning of autumn, the herds return to the stables after having spent the summer in the high pastures. Whilst the quantities of milk necessary to produce Guyères de Comté were insufficient, it was necessary to make small cheeses which would be made with a lot less milk. These are called ‘boëte cheeses’ or ‘of cream.’ This explains why the Mont-d’Or cheese is, today, still a seasonal cheese. It is made between the 15th August and 15th March at an altitude of 700 meters. The milk which is used comes only from the Montbéliarde or French Simmental breeds of cow, which are fed on grass or hay, the distribution of fermented feed is forbidden
History of the Mont d'Or cheese
The Mont d’Or cheese is made with raw milk; around 7 litres is needed to make one kilogram of the cheese. The curds are obtained using rennet and are pressed in moulds to form a cylindrical shape. It is then removed from the mould and encircled with a strap of spruce, which is slightly smaller than the diameter of the cheese, giving the the rind of the Mont d’Or a bumpy, crinkled appearance; like that of its mountainous birthplace, the Haut-Doubs.
The woody taste of the Mont d’Or cheese, its aromas of resin, and its specific flavour are what make this cheese a gourmet cheese. The fragrance of the cheese is dominated by the aroma of spruce, coming from its strap, and gives a unique woody aroma ranging from the aroma of mushrooms to that of potatoes. The lovely flavour of the Mont d’Or cheese comes from the milk produced on the mountains and the spruce.