Le Duc Vacherin
Deliciously soft and fragrant spruce-bark bound cheeses have been enjoyed as a winter treat in the mountains that border France and Switzerland since the Middle Ages. Traditionally, these cheeses were produced when the cows returned from grazing on high-altitude pastures, where their rich milk was used to make huge wheels of cheese. The smaller spruce bound cheeses offered a practical way of using the limited amount of milk available during the winter months.
Vacherin Le Duc is hand-made in limited quantities using similar techniques but, unlike its older cousins, it is available throughout the year. The cheese has a mild, rich creamy flavor and soft fudgy texture when young. If left to ripen in the box, the smooth pinkish rind starts to bloom and ripple, and the inside softens to a delectable oozing melt-in-the-mouth texture, with a fragrant hint of the forest.
Serve ripe with a spoon at room temperature, or heat in the box in the oven. Either way, make sure to scrape and eat the cheese closest to the spruce bark strip – it’s the best part!
Baked Le Duc Grand Vacherin
Preheat oven to 180 °C/400 °F
Remove wax paper. Place top lid on base of the box and wrap the base tightly in foil.
Bake for 25- 30 minutes until golden. Serve with baked potatoes, garlic croutons, cornichons and cured meats. A traditional white wine from the region, such as Roussette de Savoie or Cotes-du-Jura to accompany.