If we think of winter and Christmas or if we are asked about our idea of the perfect "comfort food", Vacherin is definitely one of the top 3. Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, also known as "Mont d'Or " (the Swiss variant), is "just" a soft cheese made from cow's milk ... and of course you can also eat it wonderfully "just like that". However, it owes its fame and popularity to the fact that you can put it in the oven and, with just a few simple steps, turn it into an absolutely delicious and wonderfully fragrant mini fondue in a wooden box in no time at all. Then the Vacherin really blossoms and warms the heart and stomach of the happy connoisseur ...
In the current Effilee , Nina Anika Klotz writes that there is hardly any food "as warm, soft, delicious and fulfilling as freshly melted cheese", that it is something "like the edible hug of a good friend". Regarding the Vacherin, I would subscribe to that without hesitation.
Vacherin is the product of a centuries-old tradition shared by France and Switzerland. The French Vacherin is made from raw milk and comes from the Haut-Doubs, a region of Franche-Comté. It matures, encased by a band of spruce bark, in a container made of spruce and is rubbed down with white wine from the Jura every two days, which has a decisive influence on its taste: the yellowish-white paste is creamy and soft with a few small holes and has after three weeks a creamy, mild, slightly sweet taste during maturing. The real Vacherin is only produced from autumn and then throughout the winter. So if you want a good quality Vacherin, you'd better skip it in spring and summer.
The Vacherin season has just started for us and of course we get a lot of inquiries about how to prepare the good piece. To answer all your questions at once, my sister Anaïs and I met last Sunday and, as it were, surrendered to the warm embrace of a good friend...
The following video explains all the steps in three and a half minutes. Below you will find the recipe again in clear text form.
So then, have fun cooking!
Ingredients (for 4 small or 2 hungry eaters):
- 1 Vacherin du Haut Doubs
- 1 clove of garlic
- White wine, preferably light and dry, such as Jongieux or Les Terrasses blanc
As classic side dishes:
- potatoes or bread
- Brési du Jura or Bündnerfleisch (available in our shop)
- a green salad
- pickled gherkins, pickled tomatoes, olives
- for seasoning: pepper or piment d'Espelette
- for the vinaigrette: olive oil , vinegar , mustard , salt and pepper
Put the Vacherin with its wooden bowl in a bain-marie with warm water for a quarter of an hour so that the wood can soak up the water. That way it won't burn in the oven afterwards. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to approx. 200 °C and, if necessary, peel and place the potatoes. Now is also a good time to uncork the wine and take a sip.
When the 15-minute soaking time is up: Score the Vacherin in a cross shape with a sharp knife. Feel free to cut as if you want to quarter the cheese (i.e. cut from one edge to the next), but without reaching the bottom with the knife.
Peel the garlic cloves and crush them lightly. This works well if you place them on a wooden board, position a large, broad knife on it and hit it once with a spirited punch. Now press the clove of garlic into the middle of the cross in the cheese and finally pour a generous sip of the white wine on top.
Now place the Vacherin in its wooden box in a fireproof dish and place it – without the lid and without the aluminum foil covering – on the middle rack in the oven.
It bakes there for about 20 to 30 minutes. It's ready when the wine has seeped in and the cheese is nice and runny. You can always check that with a spoon. When you're happy with the result, turn the heat up really high again for a few minutes or turn on the grill to turn the rind into a nice crispy crust. Because it tastes particularly good!
Take the Vacherin out of the oven and serve it hot and runny, preferably by pouring it directly onto the potatoes on your plate. Serve with the salad and anything else you like.