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Posts Tagged ‘Comté’

Tripp and Andrew at Fromageries Marcel Petite

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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Fromageries Marcel Petite's Fort Saint Antoine

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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Ihsan and Valerie Gurdal

Ihsan and Valerie own and run the Formaggio Kitchen family of stores. As is true of any folks passionate about their jobs, work intertwines throughout all aspects of their lives. Their travels – frequent and far-flung – are largely dictated by the food producers they want to meet or to revisit, by rumors of new and exciting foodstuffs and/or food conferences such as “Cheese,” the biennial Slow Food festival held in Bra, Italy. Their larder and wine cellar are stocked with favorite items they have imported or new items they are testing out. Even when on holiday, they are in direct communication with all three stores, coordinating deliveries from Europe and generally checking to make sure everything is on track. (more…)

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Chef Eduardo's Mac and Cheese

Chef Eduardo’s Mac and Cheese

It should come as no surprise that staff members here at Formaggio Kitchen are pretty passionate about mac and cheese. Everyone has a different take on their favorite – affected by how they had it growing up, pasta shapes and, of course, cheese preferences. As with the grilled cheese survey of a few months ago, I took a little stroll around the shop to see just how varied folks’ notion of this classic dish were. Here are the results! (more…)

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Domaine de Montbourgeau Macvin du JuraTime out from cheese for a brief note about one of our new favorite wines, a curious liquid called Macvin du Jura. Ours is made by Nicole Deriaux, the 3rd generation winemaker at Domaine de Montbourgeau, a wonderful little winery whose L’Etoile we have stocked in the past.

The lovely elixir that is Macvin du Jura is made from the juice of a combination of red and white grapes to which the local Marc (“mac”) or grape brandy is added. This addition fortifies the sweet juice with alcohol and stops fermentation. The “wine” is then aged in oak casks for several years to develop and integrate the flavors. (more…)

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Comté Extra Grand Cru

Comté Extra Grand Cru

A couple of days ago, we checked in with Kurt, lead cheese buyer at our Cambridge shop, to find out what he was recommending for these chilly autumn days and, more specifically, for Thanksgiving. Always a tough question for a lover of cheese (how to choose?), we managed to eke out the following recommendations. (more…)

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Bra, Italy - Respect the City of CheeseEvery two years, the biggest festival in the cheese world happens in Bra, Italy. The event is known simply as “Cheese.” Cheesemakers, cheesemongers, journalists, food lovers and folks lucky enough to live close by, descend on the small town of Bra to sample, sell and eat literally tons of cheese. This year at the biennial festival it was no different. With one exception. The thermometer hit a whopping 90°F. (more…)

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Dolin Vermouths

Summer is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with the newest addition to our little family of wines from the Savoie: Dolin Vermouths.

Dolin has been making vermouth in Chambéry, France since 1821. Vermouth de Chambéry is actually the only AOC for vermouth in France, and Dolin is the last remaining independent Vermouth de Chambéry producer. Dolin starts with a light base white wine (no more than 10% alcohol) and then fortifies with sugar and infuses it with dozens of the local Alpine plants that grow in the hills above Chambéry. (more…)

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Marcel Petite Comté

As a child, I was an avid reader of Asterix and Obelix comics and there are a couple of images from the series that made an indelible mark. One was of Obelix furious and red in the face (I was always a little partial to Obelix) after Dogmatix had somehow been threatened. Another was of some poor, pathetic Roman who keeps losing his piece of bread in a large cauldron full of fondue. As the comic progressed (I think it must have been the one where Asterix and Obelix are in Switzerland), the cheese stretches all over the room and all over the partakers of the meal. That was my first image of fondue – it seemed fun, crazy and probably amazingly delicious. (more…)

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Comté aging at Fromageries Marcel PetiteThis has been a good year for cheese at Formaggio Kitchen. We were lucky enough to visit several producers — both old friends and new acquaintances — who are sending us some incredible cheeses. Throughout the holidays, as family and friends come to town, or as you pack for a trip of your own, be sure to have a good selection of cheese on hand for simple snacking or to create an elegant cheese course. For help finding just the right cheese, here are a few highlights from our recent trips. (more…)

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