The first time that we visited the Fort Saint Antoine and tasted Comte was in 1999. Jason Hinds introduced Ihsan and I to Claude and Phillipe- who we have worked with since, via another friend Pascal Trotte from Paris. Tasting with Claude and Phillipe was a very intimidating first experience, and we certainly had to be approved- we had to show we knew what we were talking about and were serious about representing and selling the cheese. Shortly after getting this approval, we began to import Marcel Petite Comte.
This past Thanksgiving, I rediscovered the yummy potential of rutabaga when my sister, Jackie, and her pal, Fraya (a former chef) made an ultra tasty casserole of rutabaga, sweet potato, and caramelized onion, plus a little Comte for good measure. When I posted my praise for the dish on Facebook, lots of you wanted to know the recipe. So I went back to my sis and asked about it. She said it was completely improvised by her and Fraya. There's no formal recipe, but if you're a comfortable cook, you can follow her lead in this note she sent back to me:
Last Friday afternoon my wife and I drove into Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick up dinner. On the menu: cheese, a crusty bread, and any other specialty foods that caught our eye. We luckily found parking right outside of our destination—Formaggio Kitchen.
Although we aimed to get there a little earlier, my scattered brain and rush hour traffic put us at shopping an hour before closing time. It was fairly busy, and with everyone milling about in their coats it was a little cramped at times. Nevertheless, the staff remained enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuinely excited to see customers. They offered us samples of cheese, salami and wine, ready to answer any question.
What with my two years of Jr. High French, I'm really not sure what this video is about.
As far as I can tell, the wicked cows defeat the peace-loving brachiosaurs in the battle of the sacred bell. Cows have a numerical advantage because they're really some sort of ambulatory hail or other weather phenomena, and don't rely on cumbersome egg-laying to reproduce.
Doofy cavemen then create Comté cheese, which blots out the sun, creating an ice-age plagued with pesky pterodactyls. The cheese then rolls down a hill and into a cave. The cave contains a number of ghosts, including Julius Caesar and the Beatles. Unafraid, the foolish cheese rolls straight through them and into the hands of a waiting affineur, who punishes its impertinence with a sharp rap with a hammer.
I just got back from a month in Australia. What do I miss most, besides my best mates and Aussie humor? The nature and the smells. They're often linked, actually. Walking around the Barossa Valley (South Australia), strong wafts of peppermint (eucalyptus trees) backed with black pepper and lemon (also from the trees and native scrub) swirl around me. Then there's the ubiquitous rosemary and sweet lavender that grow so well that some use them for hedgerows. The air often has a dusty, clay-like scent, possibly from that iron-rich, sunbaked red soil mixed with a deep, meaty undertones that I want to believe is Vegemite...but I really have no idea where it comes from.