Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese is coming….
The countdown has begun!
It’s about this time of the year in the shop that Kathy starts singing ‘Vacherin is coming, Vacherin is coming….’
For many years I have heralded the arrival of Vacherin Mont d’ Or, and, I still find, each year, that this seasonal cheese is a delight to receive and enjoy for the first time of the year.
Vacherin Mont d’ Or (also called Vacherin du Haut-Doubs in France) is a justifiably famous seasonal cheese only made in the Autumn and Winter. Encircled in spruce, rich, unctuous and creamy it is a delight – the perfect rich winter cheese! And in the worlds of Patrick Rance, Britain’s most-eminent cheesemonger, ‘Vacherin is the solace of the winter months’….
Most cheeses were originally only seasonally produced but, nowadays, only a few remain as dairying and cheese production has become a year round practice. Thankfully production and consumption of Mont d’ Or has remained seasonal thanks to it’s AOP/AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) by the French Government, which determines the regulations for producing this cheese: officially this cheese cannot be made before August 15th. Once made, Vacherin Mont d’ Or must then be matured for at least three weeks (and can therefore can be sold from 10th September onwards).
Although they can be legally sold at 21 days – for Vacherin Mont d’ Or in fabulous condition you will have to wait a further few weeks i’m afraid! It takes 6-8 weeks of maturity for the unctuousity and rich, piney flavours to develop, that make Vacherin so special. So at The Courtyard Dairy the first cheese will be released (all being well on maturity) from the weekend 3rd October 2014.
While you’re waiting why not treat yourself to Winslade, a British Vacherin equivalent (with spruce band and everything!) style made in Hampshire.
So how did this winter season come about, and why – read on in The History of Vacherin Mont d’ Or.
And, if you would like to know how the French Mont d’Or / Vacherin du Haut Doubs is made please read about Andy’s visit to producers Sancey Richard in 2011: https://www.thecourtyarddairy.co.uk/blog/a-visit-to-vacherin-mont-d-or-producers-sancery-richard.html
Do make sure you try Le Mont d’ Or this Winter, but there is plenty of time yet, although cheese production and its availability tails off after Christmas, it is still officially made throughout Winter and sold until the 10th May each year!