Chilly evenings are just right for a Vacherin Mont-d’Or mini fondue

swiss cheese

ON COLD, damp evenings such as we’re having now, one of my winter favourites, baked Vacherin Mon-d’Or served as a luscious mini fondue, makes for a warm, flavourful meal that’s great to share with family and friends (individual and double-sized portions are sold at most stockists)–or as a cosy meal à deux–along with some crisp Swiss white wine. Here’s a little information about this wonderful, seasonal cheese that literally needs to be scooped up during its limited availability in the shops:

Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOC is made from September to April by a small group of dedicated Swiss affineurs in the Jura Mountains. It’s one of only six Swiss cheeses to carry the prestigious certified label of origin (AOC) awarded by Swiss PDO-PGI Association.

To merit this certification, each stage of production must take place within the region of origin thus guaranteeing its distinct character and unmistakable identity. The cheese comes courtesy of cows brought down from high pasture to spend the cold winter months in stables, meaning it’s not available for very long.

Like all good things that too quickly come to an end, you have to make the most of it while it’s here.

Traditionally, Vacherin Mont-d’Or graces the table as a dessert option served with good crusty bread, but baking it has become so popular that some producers now sell it in ceramic baking dishes to save you the trouble of wrapping it in foil. The cheese is sold in round, lidded boxes made of spruce wood. You can bake it with its lid on, though it may take a bit longer to become piping hot and runny (don’t worry if the cheese liquifies during heating as it will thicken again slightly once it’s on the table). You can scoop it up with crusty bread or new potatoes. You can find Vacherin Mont-d’Or at most Swiss grocery stores such as Co-op, Migros and Manor, and also at the high-end Globus delicatessa. Give the recipe below a try, and if you really fall in love with this cheese there are lots of other recipes that make delicious use of it as well. Bon appetit! En Guete! Enjoy!

Photo of the baked Vacherin Mont-d’Or at the top of this post is courtesy of the Swiss PDO-PGI Association. 

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