Mont d’Or – The Holy Grail Of Raw Milk Cheeses

Called “the holy grail of raw milk cheeses”, Mont d’Or (also called Vacherin Mont d’Or, and Vacherin Haut-Doubs) is truly a spectacular cheese

Vacherin Mont D’Or is perhaps one of the most sought-after cheeses on the market. A thermalized cow’s milk cheese wrapped in spruce to contain the woodsy liquid interior that, with one taste, commands spontaneous exuberance

Traditionally made with the winter milk of the same cows that produce Gruyere in the summer, this cheese is only available from October until April, making it all the more precious. The cheese must be made from cows munching on straw and fodder; once outside to graze at pasture, their milk is used for larger alpine cheeses. Swiss regulations also dictate the cheese must be produced at elevations of 2,297 feet or higher. Not a dictate, but we highly recommend you enjoy this delectable cheese with a bottle of Gewurtztraminer.

The origin of this cheese was a point of contention between the Swiss and the French for centuries, with the Swiss finally conceding to the French

In Switzerland, it’s called Vacherin Mont d’Or whereas in France, Vacherin refers to the same cheese molded and ripened in large wooden hoops, and the smaller ones, packed and sold individually, are called Mont d’Or

The Swiss versions are made from pasteurized milk. In France, you can get both versions; those made with lait cru (raw milk) and the pasteurized ones. The lait cru is ripened for about three weeks in the spruce boxes, which give the cheese a particular flavor

NOTE: Mont d’Or is a protected cheese and must be ripened in wood

In France, we start seeing them stockpiled at the fromageries around November and December, and they are available throughout the winter, with interest declining when the weather turns warmer

When baked, it’s like a wonderful harmony of flavors – fat, funk, fresh cream, wood, garlic, rank, and a peculiar buttery sharpness scrambling all of your senses together in each single mouthful

Mont d’Or is a special experience and if you find one that’s perfectly ripe, you can just spoon it out of the container without heating it. However baking the cheese brings out its special flavor, especially if you add garlic and a splash of wine, and the texture is like nothing else you’ve ever had. Some folks grind some black pepper over the cheese before baking as well

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