ON CHILLY evenings such as we’re having now, one of my autumn and 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, Autumn-to-Spring availability in the shops.
Dedicated cheese makers
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.
Lid on or off
The cheese is sold in round, lidded spruce wood boxes. You can bake it with its lid off or on, though if you leave it on, it may take a bit longer to become piping hot and runny. You can also remove the lid for the last few moments under the grill for a bit of golden-browning on top.
Don’t worry if the cheese liquifies during heating as it will slightly thicken again once it’s on the table.
You can scoop it up with crusty baguette or new potatoes and serve with tart pickled onions and pickles on the side.
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!
Baked in the box Vacherin Mont d’Or
Easily serves two as a main or four as a side dish.
Ingredients (for two people):
- A Vacherin Mont d’Or PDO (small- or medium-sized, between 350 and 450 grams); let it sit at room temperature for 25 minutes before prepping
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves sliced into quarters and preferably, glazed in the frying pan
- 1 dl of white wine
- 500g baby (new) potatoes;
- Pickled baby onions and cornichons
Preparation and Serving:
- Remove the lid to expose the top of the Vacherin
- Line the Vacherin box in aluminum foil
- Using a fork prick holes in the top crust of the Vacherin and drizzle with white wine
- Using a knife, cut incisions in the crust and insert the garlic pieces
- Place the lidded Vacherin in the oven and bake it for about 25 minutes in the middle part of the oven preheated to 200°C
- Boil the potatoes
- Serve as a fondue for dipping or scooping with potatoes or chunks of crusty baguette
- On the side, serve the pickled onions and cornichons