In 1966, cheesemaker Marcel Petite bought Fort Saint Antoine - a former 19th Century garrison for 400 men on the French-Swiss border - from the French government. Motivating Petite’s purchase of the munitions fort was its potential: he saw in the thick stone walls and natural cool temperatures a place to engage his philosophy of “affinage lent” or slow maturation. Fort Saint Antoine now houses over 100,000 wheels of comté, along with other examples of traditional Franche-comté cheeses.
Upon first tasting Comté, one will notice refined, delicate, and long-lasting flavors. Its complex nuttiness and caramelized finish, yielded by the humid, medieval, cavernous fort, make it a truly memorable alpine-style cheese. Perhaps most remarkable about this Comté’s profile is its precise tension between earthy tones of well-toasted bread and ripe plums and the treble notes of yogurt, grass, even cardamom. Pair with white wines of the Jura, young reds, or champagne.