MONT D’OR VACHERIN BAKED WITH BACON FRESH HERBS WHITE WINE AND GRILLED TOULOUSE SAUSAGE

I first tried baked Mont D’or at previous restaurants helmed by Chef Patrick Heuberger. Patrick now runs the delightful Atout at Dempsey, which is now the hottest spot to go to for some fabulous rustic French food. He serves the most delightful baked Mont D’or (when in season) at Atout, together with exquisite hand made pates and rilletes.

I was also delighted to be served Mont D’or recently at New Ubin Seafood restaurant at Chjimes. The Mont D’or was served unbaked (to savour the natural rich flavours) but with charcoal grilled bread which gave it that heady pungent aroma which blended beautifully with the cheese.

Patrick Heuberger also serves this delightful Toulouse sausage dish which is extremely tasty with some grilled vegetables and tomatoes.

You can get both Toulouse sausage and Mont D’or (when in season) at Huber’s at Dempsey.

Mont D’or Vacherin

Vacherin is a cow’s milk (French vache, “cow”) cheese. Two main types of French or Swiss Vacherin cheeses exist.

One type of Vacherin cheese is called Mont d’Or, or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, from France, or Vacherin Mont d’Or from Switzerlan (though it tends to just be called Vacherin in the local shops).

It is a soft, rich, seasonal cheese made from cow’s milk in Switzerland or France, usually in villages of the Jura region.

It typically contains 45 to 50 percent milk fat and is produced between August 15 and March 15, and sold between September 10 and May 10.

The Swiss Vacherin Mont d’Or is generally made with thermized milk (pasteurization is not allowed), while the French Vacherin du Haut-Doubs is unpasteurized.

It is marketed in round boxes of various diameters made of spruce

One commentator has this to say about Mont D’or:

Called “the holy grail of raw milk cheeses”, Mont d’Or (also called Vacherin Mont d’Or, and Vacherin Haut-Doubs) is truly a spectacular cheese

Folks, I gotta tell you, this is one amazing cheese and if you get a chance to try one, you won’t know what hit you. I’ve had a few in my life that were exceptionally good just as is (unbaked).

But when baked, it’s like a brain wreck of everything going on – fat, funk, fresh cream, wood, garlic, rank, and a peculiar buttery sharpness scrambling all of your senses together in each single mouthful.

And if that description didn’t scare you away, then you’ll be rewarded with a life-altering eating experience.

David Leibovitz – Living the sweet life in Paris

A shout out to the home cooks out there like me – the Mont D’or is like serving your family delicious fondue but with simple and unfussy steps.

I fried up some chopped bacon in just one spoon of olive oil and after a few minutes when it was beginning to crisp up, I added about 4 shallots and 4 garlic cloves sliced thinly. I fried it for about 2-3 minutes before switching off the fire, and leaving the contents to cool in the pan.

With a small knife, I made slits in the top of the cheese and with a small spoon, I pushed into these slits some freshly plucked thyme and spoonfuls of the bacon/shallots/garlic mixture. I lined the top with some sprigs of rosemary.

And the final benediction- I trickled some white wine over the top, let it seep and then trickled a little more.

The cheese goes into a preheated oven and was baked for 20-30 minutes at 190c.

The delectable Mont D’or was served with rustic wholemeal baguette buttered and oven grilled and warmed pita bread and Turkish bread.

I had some other cheeses and cold cuts on the side just so the Mont D’or doesn’t feel lonely.

The combination was sublime.

Kids were happy.

Toulouse Sausage

The Toulouse sausage was even simpler.

In a heated cast iron pan , I added 2 spoons of olive oil and a small slab of butter. Once the butter was sizzling in the pan, I added the sausage and pan fried it both sides until it was cooked and browned (about 3-4 minutes on each side).

I then removed the sausage and set it aside.

In the same cast iron pan which now has a buttery and tasty oil mixture, I added a little sliced garlic and shallots, and pan fried these until half brown. I had earlier par cooked some broccoli (about 2 minutes in boiled water and strained) and added this in.

I then added in the vine tomatoes, seasoned the vegetables with pepper and salt and added a dash of white wine. I pushed the vegetables to the side and then returned the sausage to the cast iron pan and served it at the table.

Voila !

A tasty fuss free and elegant Sunday lunch!

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