Baked Cheese Dip and a Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Friday 17 October 2014

When Queen Elizabeth visited France this year for the D-Day Commemorations she experienced one of France’s most cherished and traditional cheeses. As her annual speech approaches on Christmas Day, why not follow suit and discover the delights of Comté for yourself?

Comté is handcrafted by artisans, using a method which has not changed for centuries. Thanks to its versatility, Comté pairs superbly with both red and white wine along with Champagne, making it a tasty choice for Christmas party nibbles. To make Comté even more festive why not pair it with orange zest, which perfectly complements its creamy undertones? What’s more, the intense flavours of Comté make it the perfect addition to your Christmas cheeseboard. Thanks to their aromas of butter and caramel, young Comté is especially complimented by chutneys, especially the sweet, rich flavours of fig chutney.

Comté’s full-spectrum of delicious flavours makes it ideal for numerous festive recipes, such as scallops with a Comté and hazelnut crust. The breadcrumb, hazelnut and Comté mix adds a deliciously festive twist to lightly fried scallops, making it the perfect Christmas Day aperitif. Or, when the festivities are over, why not add it to your Boxing Day platter, or combine it with leftover turkey in some delicious puff-pastry rolls? Warm, melted Comté and spice-infused Turkey breast is encased in a golden-brown pastry, which will keep your family full even after the decorations have been taken down.

Comté is available from all major supermarkets, as well as specialist farm shops and delis. To learn more about Comté, its complex range of flavours and ideal pairings please visit You can also follow Comté on twitter @Comte_Cheese or on Facebook,  

I was recently sent some of this lovely cheese and challenged to come up with some recipes that you might find handy over the holidays!

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This first recipe is for a lovely cheese dip/spread.  It's simple to make and would be perfect for an informal holiday get together.

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This delicious cheese is simply cut into cubes and mixed with some fontina cheese and scattered into a baking dish along with some olive oil, garlic and some herbs.  It is then popped under the grill until the whole thing melts and amalgamates into a  rich and scrummy mixture which is excellent for dipping or spreading onto toasted slices of baguette.

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*Baked Cheese Dip*
serves 4 to 6

A delicious dip to serve at the table, family style so that everyone can just dig in and enjoy some spirited holiday conversation!    

3/4 pound of medium strength comte cheese
3/4 pound of fontina cheese
60ml good quality olive oil (1/4 cup)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 TBS fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt, rubbed in your fingers
1 good quality French Baguette, sliced and toasted and rubbed with a clove of garlic  

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Preheat your grill to medium high.   Place your grill rack no closer than 5 inches beneath the flame.
Trim off and discard the rinds of your cheeses.  Cut the cheese into 1/2 inch dice.   Mix them together and then scatter them in a heavy cast iron shallow gratin dish or skillet.  Drizzle the olive oil over all.   Mix together the garlic, thyme, rosemary, black pepper and sea salt.  Sprinkle this mixture evenly over top of the cheese.   Place the pan beneath the grill and roast until the cheese melts, bubbles and begins to turn golden brown in spots.  Serve the melted cheese at the table along with your toasted baguette slices and a spoon so that people can dip in and spoon the dip out onto the bread.  Alternately you can just serve with torn chunks of baguette and people can dip the bread.

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The next recipe is for a Gourmet Mac and Cheese that is the perfect do ahead that you can have waiting in the fridge, ready to pop into the oven when your company arrives and would also be the perfect casserole to serve along side of your leftover sliced ham and turkey on Boxing Day.   A few crusty rolls and some salad and your Boxing Day is sorted!

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Its also very simple to make but has a gloriously rich holiday feel and flavour  which comes from the use of three different cheese, including that lovely almost caramel like richness of the comte cheese.

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*Gourmet Mac & Cheese*
Serves 4

A truly creamy and rich version of macaroni and cheese with three delicious cheeses and a crunchy topping.  

fine sea salt
8 ounces of maccheroni pasta (macaroni or some other tublar pasta)
2 TBS unsalted butter
a handful of crushed buttered Italian crackers, I used whole wheat (Similar to Saltine crackers)
90g of finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
2 TBS plain flour
450ml of whole milk (about 2 cups ), gently warmed
2 ounces grated strong cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
2 ounces grated Comte cheese (3/4 cup)
2 ounces grated taleggio cheese (3/4 cup)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of ground nutmeg  

Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions in lightly salted water.  Drain well, rinse in cold water, and drain again.  Set aside.  

Melt  the butter in a large saucepan.   Whisk in the flour in and allow to cook over low heat for about a minute.  Slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Cook and wisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon and thickens.  Stir in the cheddar cheese and all but 3 TBS each of the Comte and taleggio cheeses.   Whisk and stir until all of the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.    Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the cooked pasta.  

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a shallow 1 litre baking dish.  Pour in the pasta and cheese sauce.   Mix together the remaining cheeses along with the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over top  Sprinkle the crumbled crackers over top.  Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Comté cheese is made in the Massif du Jura region of France and has been for over 1,000 years. Montbéliarde and French Simmental are the only cows allowed for the production of Comté milk. They must only be fed with natural feed and have at least 2.5 acres of grazing pasture.

Comté’s methods of production are still based on the original co-operative approach and artisan traditions. Each day it is lovingly crafted in around 160 small village fruitières. Often situated in the heart of the village, each fruitière continues to receive milk from dedicated dairy farms situated within an 8 mile radius to guarantee its absolute freshness. This radius also ensures all 160 remain active and the Massif du Jura region maintains its fruitière diversity.

Lovingly crafted every day, the freshly made cheese wheels are pre-ripened for a few weeks before moving to one of the 16 maturing cellars. Here the affineurs look after them for 4 to 18 months or more; regularly turning, salting and rubbing each one with brine solution. Over time a crust appears and every Comté wheel develops its unique smooth texture, rich colour and delicious range of flavours.


  1. Oh that baked chesse dip looks so meltingly delicious yet so easy once you read the directions. Although I am not sure I will find Comte chesse here in Ausralia.

  2. You could use all Taleggio if you wanted to.

  3. I love this cheese dip Marie:)
    Look yumm!

  4. They're so nice a gooey scrumptious Monique. Kind of dangerous!

    Thanks Gloria! xxoo


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