Comte Fort St. Antoine

Raymond Hook reviews a favorite cheese, Comte Fort St. Antoine.

Sometime one bite will captivate you. When noted cheese professional Daphne Zepos first tasted this special cheese, it stuck in her memory. The cheese was “Subtle, rich, very smooth, with an incredibly long creamy buttery aftertaste.” And years later when wanting to take on a new role in the cheese industry, she chose the Petit Marcel Fort St. Antoine Comte to focus on. Daphne and her business partner, Jason Hinds of famed Neil’s Yard Dairy in London, hand select the best of the best, usually cheeses made in the summer, when the cows are eating pasture grasses, and aged from 13-17 months. They import the cheese into the USA under the Essex Street Cheese company brand. They are large wheels, between 75 and 85 pounds, raw milk and aged, on spruce boards, in an old hillside fort in France’s Jura Mountains. The fort dates from the 1870’s and maintains a constant 48 degree temperature and 90% humidity. Comte is one of the world’s true great cheeses and Daphne and Jason’s are shinning examples. They choose cheese on quality alone and only import those cheeses. Their cheeses are available at Dean & Deluca NYC, Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Pasta Shop in Berkeley, Pastoral in Chicago and St James cheese in New Orleans. It is worth the effort to search this cheese out.