A few weeks ago I attended #XmasWithComte, a blogger event with Comté cheese, in Camden Market. In true Kirsty style, I was early and the first to arrive so I wandered around the market until they were ready for us.
What a beautiful sight greeted us once the doors were opened! The venue, The Camden Grocer, hadn’t actually opened to the public yet but it was beautifully decorated for our evening of pairing Comté with Christmas drinks. It felt very festive.
An absolute bonus was that Binny from Binny’s Food and Travel Diaries, Connie from Connie Consumes and Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi were all there! Plus I got to make some new blogger friends too – Flick, Mike and Hannah.
I’ll put my hand up and say that I’d never had Comté before so I was really keen to try it. We were given some to taste before the official tasting and pairing started and it’s similar to Gruyère in taste and texture.
Comté is a French PDO cheese, meaning ‘Protected Designation of Origin’. It’s made in the Massif du Jura region of France where it’s been produced for over 1,000 years. Only two cows are allowed to produce Comté milk – French Simmental and Montbéliarde – and they must only be fed with natural feed and have at least 2.5 acres of grazing pasture.
We were given a wheel of slices of Comté which were all different ages, to be paired with drinks that had been specially selected. We did have a bit of a giggle at some of the taste descriptions – wet wool anyone?
To guide us through the tasting and pairing was cheese writer, and World Cheese Awards judge, Patrick McGuigan. We started with the 6-month Comté, paired with bubbles – Cremant du Jura, which is from the same region as Comté. It was quite creamy, which worked well with the citrus notes in the wine. The drinks were selected by Patrick and the cheese was kindly provided by Rhuaridh from Buchanans Cheesemongers.
The next pairing was a 12-month Comté paired with Sandford Orchards St Louis Dry Hopped Cider. Normally I’m not much of a cider drinker but this was really lovely. You could definitely taste the difference between the 6 and 12 month Comté too. It was richer and more nutty.
The next pairing was again a 12-month Comté but this time paired with Xeco Fino Sherry. Now, I can’t lie. I wasn’t a fan of the Sherry at all! It was far too strong for me. I wolfed down the cheese though.
Next was another strong pairing, but one I could enjoy more: 18-month Comté paired with Tamagawa Tokubetsu Junmai Sake (Heart) of Oak. I tried Sake about 15 years ago and didn’t like it so I’ve never tried it since. We were in Japan two years ago and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t have any there!
Next was another first for me – pairing 18-month Comté with Sloe Gin. Clearly I’d never tried Sloe Gin because I poured it like it was wine! Much to the hilarity of my blogger friends. It was delicious though. I pretty much finished my glass, which at 30 percent alcohol content probably wasn’t such a good idea…
The last pairing was definitely my favourite because it was 30-month Comté paired with Taylor’s 20-year-old Tawny Port. I LOVE PORT. I can’t wait to visit Porto just so I can drink all the Port!
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening trying a cheese I’d never had before as well as pairing it with drinks I’d never think to pair it with! Plus we got to take some lovely Comté home. It was such a laugh too and I loved seeing everyone and meeting some new friends.