My February column in Living France: Mont d’Or Cheese
A WINTERRIME INDULGENCE
Though it was late spring, my thoughts wandered to powdery slopes, wood smoke and the raw beauty of winter as I stared into the distance at the towering spruce trees that surround Le Crêt l’Agneau, a cosy bed and breakfast nestled in La Longeville in Haut-Doubs. It was my first visit to the Jura Mountains, and owner Lili had graciously prepared a fondue feast with local cheeses, including one of my favourites, Mont d’Or.
Also known as Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, Mont d’Or is one of the most popular cheeses of this tranquil and relatively undiscovered corner of France, situated just a stone’s throw from the Swiss border. Named after the Massif du Mont d’Or, where it is produced with raw milk from Montbéliarde and Simmental cows collected daily by approximately 500 dairy farmers, the cheese was granted A.O.C. certification in 1981. Mont d’Or’s origins, however, probably date back to the 13th century, and in the 18th century, the unctuous cheese regularly appeared at Louis XV’s lavish banquets.