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One is a soft, rich, seasonal cheese made from cow's-milk in Switzerland or France, usually in villages of the Jura region (an origin that has been officially controlled since 1981), and has a grayish-yellow washed rind and is called Mont d'Or, or Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, from France, or Vacherin Mont d'Or from Switzerland (though it tends to just be called Vacherin in the local shops). It typically contains 45 to 50 percent milk fat (in dry matter), and is produced between August 15 and March 15, and sold between September 10 and May 10, and the Swiss Vacherin Mont d'or is generally made with pasteurised milk, while the French Vacherin du Haut-Doubs is unpasteurised. It is marketed in round boxes of various diameters made of spruce. It is often served warmed in its original packaging and eaten like a fondue.
Officially, the French AOC/PDO allows Artisanal and Coopérative production of Mont d'or.
The other Vacherin, a firmer cheese, is called Vacherin Fribourgeois. Originally from the Fribourg canton Switzerland, it is where Gruyère originates, is now produced under Swiss AOC in Valais. It has a slightly acidic, resiny flavor, akin to Italian Fontina, with a varying strength depending on the age and type. It is also a basic component lending character to fondues (depending on the recipe). Vacherin Fribourgeois has Swiss AOC status with 6 varieties being available:
- Classic (aged: 6–12 weeks)
- Extra (aged: minimum 12 weeks)
- Rustic (aged: minimum 12 weeks, but up to 25 weeks (6 months))
- Alpage (aged: 12–25 weeks)
- Mountain (aged 9–25 weeks)
- Bio (Organic) (aged: minimum 9 weeks)
This cheese is made between September and April.
Vacherin d'alpage is made from the milk of cows pasturing in alpine meadows and hence has a much richer taste. Vacherin d'alpage are usually made in a cauldron over a wooden fire in some remote chalet on an alpine meadow and they are not easy to find in the trade. The older the vacherin gets, the stronger the smell of ammonia due to microorganism activity in the cheese.
- 'French Cheeses' , DK, ISBN 1405306661
- 'Cheeses of the World' , Roland Barthelemy; Arnaud Sperat-Czar, (2001) ISBN 184430115X
- BBC Good Food - Vacherin Profile (Accessed 30/Oct/2010)
- Practically Edible - Mont d'or Profile (accessed 30/Oct/2010)
- Denis Bonnot, Le Vacherin Mont d'Or Franco-Suisse; un fromage qui sort du bois & du froid. Lons-le-Saunier (France), Areopage, 2006, p. 133
- 'The Cheese Companion' , Judy Ridgeway, ISBN 1840923393 (2003)
- Vacherin Fribourgeois - Website (accessed 02/Jan/2007)