From The Paris Kitchen-Autumn Cheese Bliss: Baked Mont d’Or in White Wine
This beautiful Vacherin Mont-d’Or, AOC is a sure sign of fall in France. Produced in the Jura region – at the border of France and Switzerland – the cow’s milk cheese is made only between August and March, making its first appearance on shelves now.
Due to its AOC classification, the raw milk can only be from the cows of the Montbéliard and Simmentaler breeds.
What is AOC you ask? L’appellation d’origine contrôlée.The example most quoted to help explain the concept of AOC is that Champagne cannot be called Champagne unless it is from, Champagne. By definition the meaning is a bit broader. It not only protects Champagne, or in this case, the Vacherin Mont-d’Or from imitations (assuring consumers that it is a fully authentic), it also refers to the natural and human factors involved. Geography, soil and climate as well as traditions and manufacturing techniques, give the product its unique identity and each stage of production, from milk to finishing, takes place within its region of origin.
The cheese is rounded and ripened on a Spruce wood board for at least three weeks, rotated several times and then placed in its deep Spruce (or sometimes Pine) box, giving it a forest – herbaceous flavor.
Don’t worry should you see a white fur growing on the surface, it is a natural phenomenon which does not affect the taste of the cheese. You can easily remove this by wiping the surface of the cheese with a moist paper towel.
I wanted to share the recipe when French friends were surprised that I was baking a Mont d’Or steeped in white wine for an apero hour chez moi. They said that they have always adored the cheese with just a wooden spoon, but didn’t know it could be baked.
Honey, nothing can be better than tart green apples slices or toasted & cubed bread dipped into the fondue texture on a cold evening! Ok, maybe Thomas Keller’s buttermilk fried chicken with Drappier Champagne …
If you are lucky enough to visit France, you can find the cheese in the best shops and ask them to vacuum seal it. This way, it is legal to take it back to the states to share with friends in front of the fire using this recipe. Would love to know if you have your own favorite serving suggestion or wine pairing!1.) Wrap aluminum foil around a box of Vacherin Mont-d’Or leaving the top of the cheese exposed.
2.) Prick the top with a fork (as for a pie crust) or use a sharp knife to make a large “X” on the surface . For extra jazz, insert one or two cloves of garlic (or even truffle slices)!
3.) Pour a dry white wine over the surface.
4.) Place it in a pre-heated 200°C/375°F oven and bake for 25 minutes.
File under good to know: Vacherin accepts freezing well and it can be served in summer. Simply move it into the refrigerator to defreeze slowly, and then let it come up to room temperature.