Baked Vacherin Mont d’Or
This iconic French cheese comes into season late September in time for the winter months. It’s wrapped in spruce and squeezed into a round wooden box. So, now the season is here, what is the best way to eat Vacherin Mont d’Or?
The Courtyard Dairy’s affineur, Andy Swinscoe, prefers to allow the Vacherin to warm up to room temperature, then spoon it from the box and let it ooze onto a cheese plate. When Andy visited the makers of Vacherin Mont d’Or, Sancey Richard, and suggested baking the cheese, the producer was appalled, saying, “that’s what the Parisian’s do, not the locals…” You can read more about that visit and how Vacherin Mont d’Or is made here.
Yet baked Vacherin Mont d’Or is an absolute delight. Soft, rich and unctuous, it makes a perfect meal for two or starter for 4+. Andy recommends you try the following recipe throughout the season; the dish is a brilliant, hearty, warming meal for a cold winter night.
Ingredients for baked Vacherin Mont d’Or. (Serves two people as a main meal)
1 x 500g Vacherin Mont d’Or or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs
(this is the standard small size, though larger 800g, 1.5kg and 3k ones are available)
Sprigs of rosemary
2 garlic cloves (sliced finely)
Splash of white wine
500g Boiled new potatoes or crusty bread
Pickled Cornichons (Gherkins) or a crisp, sharp pickle (such as Rosebud’s cucumber pickle)
Cold Meats (such as Salami, Prosciutto and Ham)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (gas mark 6).
If the Vacherin is young or maybe a cheaper version/producer, you might want to enhance the flavour by poking rosemary and the slivers of garlic into slits made in the top of the cheese, and add a splash of white wine on top to help it soften. For a top quality producer of Vacherin (such as Sancey Richard) this may not be necessary.
Cover the whole box with foil and place on a baking tray.
Bake the Vacherin Mont d’Or for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven, unwrap the foil, remove the box lid, and serve.
Take turns to dip the bread or potatoes straight into the bubbling, hot cheese and enjoy!