Posted in Cheese, France, Travelogues, tagged Cheese, Claude Querry, Comté, Fromageries Marcel Petite, Ihsan Gurdal, Jura, Philippe Goux, Valerie Gurdal on June 5, 2014 |
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Last fall, I had the opportunity to travel to the Jura with Ihsan and Valerie, owners of the Formaggio Kitchen shops, and visit Fromageries Marcel Petite, affineur (or ager) of Comté cheese.
All cheesemongers on our counters hear a tremendous amount about Fort Saint Antoine where Marcel Petite ages their finest wheels – it is a storied and highly respected place for us – where Philippe Goux, General Manager, and Claude Querry, Chef de Cave, bring wheels of this extraordinary mountain cheese to its full potential. Here are a few photos from my first visit – a very special experience for me as a cheesemonger and cheese lover. (please click on one of the photos to open the slideshow)
Entrance to the Fort – Few moments have impressed me as much as when I saw the entrance to the Fort. Unidentifiable from the other side of the peak, the structure, and the history of this facility is amazing – having heard so much about it, to be there myself was an extraordinary feeling.
Looking Up – The caves at the Fort are vast and beautiful. This cave is one of many and by far the largest.
Mark the Spot – A variety of symbols and initials are found on the Comté rinds. Each time a sample is taken from a wheel, a memo is left in its place. Though these symbols serve a purpose, they are also artful both in appearance, and in the movements the men take to scratch them into the rinds.
Claude’s Art – It is difficult to recall a time when I have seen someone so intensely focused on the specific moment he or she is in. Claude, the Chef de Cave at the Fort is so intense and passionate about his job, it is astounding. Here, he smells his core sample before tasting it, and then passing it around for us to try and discuss.
Mutual Respect – Seeing Ihsan and Valerie interact with their lifelong friends and colleagues made me truly appreciate the grand nature of what we do here at Formaggio Kitchen. The men and women we interacted with throughout the course of our trip absolutely adored Ihsan and Valerie. The mutual respect found in these relationships, particularly in the Jura, is wonderfully endearing, humbling, and also empowering.
Inside the Fort – A more cavernous aging room. Each room has a different humidity level and temperature to maximize the flavor of each cheese.
Remnants of Soldiers – I am unsure how anyone ever found these writing, as the hallway was pitch black, but these are the scribblings of soldiers who lived here well before the cheeses did.
The Business of Wine – Business does not happen unless there is wine! Here, we discuss our order over exquisite wines Philippe, General Manager of Marcel Petite, and Ihsan’s dear friend, has chosen for us.
Fleurie – Philippe and his wife, Christine, welcomed us, as they have so many mongers before us, into their home for a beautiful meal and wonderful conversation about Comté, France, wine and their dog Fleurie!
Meredith Rottersmann is the General Manager and Classroom Coordinator at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.
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Posted in Cheese, France, Jams & Preserves, Producer Profile, Travelogues, tagged Ardi Gasna, Arraya, Cheese, Christian Pardou, Claude Querry, Comté, Désiré Loyatho, Espelette, Ferme Fagaldia, food, Fort Saint Antoine, France, Fromageries Marcel Petite, Hotel Arraya, Kati Loyatho, Les Bergers du Haut-Béarn, Marcel Petite, Ossau-Iraty, Pardou, Piment d'Espelette, San Sebastián, Sebastien Fagoaga, travel on September 10, 2013 |
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At Fromageries Marcel Petite
Landing in Geneva, our first day began auspiciously with 65°F blue skies and a new convertible (our reserved sedan was unavailable) to drive us west into the Jura. Tripp (domestic cheese buyer for our Cambridge shop), and Sarah (Tripp’s counterpart at the South End), and I marveled at the snow-capped mountains in the eastern distance and how the yellow brilliance of patched rapeseed fields rested calmly in their spaces. The three of us were in France to visit with cheesemakers and food producers, checking in with old friends and making new ones. Climbing up into the hills, we arrived at our first destination, Fromageries Marcel Petite at Fort St. Antoine. (more…)
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Posted in Cheese, France, Producer Profile, Travelogues, tagged affineur, Cheese, Claude Querry, Comté, food, Fort Saint Antoine, Fromageries Marcel Petite, Jura, Marcel Petite, Montbéliarde on July 11, 2013 |
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Fromageries Marcel Petite’s Fort Saint Antoine
What makes Comté so incredibly special? And, why is it a cheese I find myself drawn to time and again, lured in as if it had cast a spell on me? Of course, it’s one of France’s classic cow milk cheeses – a firm mountain cheese that was among the first to receive protected status. There are the requirements of the appellation that set it apart – Comté cheese must be made with milk from cows of the Montbéliarde (95%) and Simmental (5%) breeds. It must also be made within the regions of Doubs, Jura and Ain in France – and, the cow feed has to be from pastures within a 30km radius of the fruitière making it (a fruitière is a facility where milk from the community is pooled – generally this system exists in areas where large cheeses, like Comté, are made – Parmigiano Reggiano would be a similar example in Italy). (more…)
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