Vacherin Mont d'Or
October brings with it the cooler weather, a drawing in of the nights and the arrival of Vacherin. But what is so special about Vacherin and why is it held in such high regard?
Vacherin is only produced in the cooler months, between mid August and mid March each year. During the summer, when the weather is warm and yields are high, the milk is used to make cheeses such as Gruyère or Comté. After the cows are brought down from their summer pastures these yields reduce, and the cheesemakers turn to Vacherin.
Vacherin is made in the Jura region of France and Switzerland. Methods and names differ very slightly between these two areas, but the product is all but identical. In France it is sometimes known as Vacherin du Haute-Doub and in Switzerland as Vacherin Mont d'Or. Perhaps confusingly, our Vacherin is French but is also called Mont d'Or - the Sancey-Richard brothers who make our cheese do so in Metabief, only 2 miles from the Franco-Swiss border.
French Vacherin is also always made with raw milk, whereas the Swiss thermise their milk during production [Thermisation is a method of sanitising milk using only low heat]. All Vacherin is wrapped in a band of spruce and sold in a spruce box. This lends the finished cheese its pine-scented undertones, as well as being the perfect package for the soft cheese and even a cooking vessel.
Patrick and Eric Sancey-Richard's Vacherin is produced a little more slowly than others. They take time to wash their cheese more often and mature it for longer. The result is a cheese that is all at once rich, hammy and deeply savoury. To some it is intense and powerful, but it also delicate and deeply aromatic. It really does need to be tasted to be fully savoured and appreciated.
We sell 3 sizes of cheese - a 450g, 700g and the large 1.2kg (available a little later in the season). These cheeses are enough for between 3 and 10 people, and can be enjoyed as they come or warmed through in the oven and eaten Fondue style. The addition of some rosemary and garlic only adds to the already complex cheese.
There are scores of soft French cheeses out there, but there is only one Vacherin, and it is only around for 6 months each year.
You can buy Vacherin Mont d'Or cheese
Or our ready-made selection box