French Gruyére

Product 1 – French Gruyére (Comté style) Comté cheese (pronounced “con – TAY”)
French Gruyére or Comté cheese is an artisanal, pressed cooked cheese with natural brushed rind made
with unpasteurized milk. Comté milk and Comté cheese are required to be produced according to the
European Union’s A.O.P.’s cahier des régles which has numerous requirements and prohibitions. As
with the concept of Champagne only being legally produced in the Champagne region of France,
adherence to these traditional production rules accord this product it legal protected “Product of
Designated Origin” (PDO) status. It is historically produced in the Massif du Jura, a moderately
mountainous region similar in many ways to the North Okanagan/Shuswap region which spans the Jura,
the Doubs (both Departments in the Franche-Comté Region of France) and the Ain (in the Rhône-
Alps). Montbéliarde (95% of the herds) and French Simmental cows are the only types of cows
authorized for the production of Comté milk.
The principal regulations are listed below and will be adapted for local conditions as necessary:
• Minimum of one hectare of natural pasture for each animal;
• Farms are to be of an elevation of 350 to 1100 metres
• Milk must be produced by Montbéliarde (or French Simmental) cows
• Cattle feed must be natural and free of fermented products and GMOs
• No Total Mixed Ration feeding systems
• Generally non-intensive agricultural methods
• The milk for the cheese must be collected from a 25 km diameter maximum
• Milk must be collected at least once a day and made into cheese within a 24 hours
maximum of the earliest milking
• Only copper lined cheese making vats permitted
• Only natural ferments permitted to be used to transform the milk into curds
• Mesophilic and thermophilic cultures are used and the curd is heated to 54 plus degrees for
30 minutes
• Wheels must be aged on spruce boards
• Minimum aging is 4 months, generally 6-18 months and sometimes even longer
French Gruyére is characterized by its surprisingly rich concentrated flavour with brown-butter and
roasted nut aromas and a sweet finish. Additionally, this cheese is noted for its melting and fondue
abilities. This is not a cheese that always tastes the same. Each round of French Gruyére reveals
differences in the composition of its flavour, depending on the micro-region where it was produced, the
season, the particular technique of the cheese maker, and the cellar where it was matured. It is a terroir
cheese. It reflects the soil, climate and flora of where the cheese is produced. In this respect, French
Gruyére is a UNIQUE cheese.
There are no less than 83 flavours that can be encountered when tasting. The flavours are grouped into
six aromatic families: milk, fruit, roasted, plant, animal and spice.
Although virtually unknown to Canadian consumers, Comté has the highest production figures of all the
French AOC cheeses (over 50,000 tonnes per year). A round weighs on average 40 kilograms and has a
diameter of 60 cms and a thickness (or “heel”) of 10 cms. It takes about 420 of Comté milk to make one
round or about 20 cows per day.
Unit weight of finished product at point of sale: Round 40 kgs or 400 grams average sale.
Comté is currently imported from France to Canada. It will be unique to Canada because a) it will be
made from a breed of cattle known for naturally occurring superior fat to protein ratios not presently used
to make cheese in Canada. b) it will apply the terroir concept and non-intensive agricultural to cheese
making in Canada. c) it will incorporate A.O.C. (Product of Designated Origin) concepts to Canada relating to
marketing and locality. And d) it will be produced from milk produced by using methods which reduce the
butyric acid levels in the milk which otherwise limit the cheese maker’s ability to make great cheeses.

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