1,000 Years of Artisanal Cheesmaking

Tips for the Trade

How to Maximise your Comté!

Comté is easy to store and has an excellent shelf life with a minimum of care and handling. To maximize your Comté, follow these valuable tips about buying, storing and selling cheese, adapted from Neal’s Yard Dairy.

  • Buy just what you can sell within 2-4 weeks and sell out (Comté arrives ready-to-sell; the longer it’s held, the higher the risks of diminishing quality and losses in profitability).
  • Store Comté at 45˚ F to 55˚ F in waxed (or butcher) paper. If stored in a walk-in, keep the cheese in the box and store away from fans.
  • Don’t leave displayed cheese in direct sunlight, under bright lights or under condensation vents.
  • Follow the cutting diagram below to avoid wasting any Comté.
  • For pre-cut cheese, cut little and often. Cut pieces should be 2-3 days old maximum when they’re sold. Same day is ideal.
  • Don’t pre-cut small or thin pieces, otherwise the cheese may dry out and/or taste of plastic if it’s wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • If you are concerned about the cheese quality, contact your supplier immediately.

Ordering

  • Buy just what you can sell within 2-4 weeks and sell out. Don’t stockpile cheese.

When Comté arrives

  • Open the box, take the cheese out, unwrap it (if wrapped) and look at it. If the surface is damp, give it air.
  • Turn the cheese.

Storing

  • If you store your cheese in the walk-in, always store it in the box to prevent it from drying out. Make a note of the batch date and shipment number on the outside of the box to aid your inventory control and stock rotation. Store the box on a low shelf in the walk-in away from fans.
  • The ideal temperature to hold cheese is 45˚ F to 55˚ F. A slightly lower temperature is acceptable, but remember that temperatures that are too low will dry the cheese out.
  • It is ideal to wrap cheese in waxed (or butcher) paper.

Rotate Stock on Display

  • Whole cheeses used as a backdrop to a display should be cut and sold in date order. If you are going to use Comté wheels purely as a display, understand that this item costs you around $800.
  • Don’t leave displayed cheese in direct sunlight, under bright lights, or under condensation drips.

Pre-cutting (see Comté cutting instructions below)

  • Cut little and often. Your cut pieces should be 2-3 days old maximum when they’re sold. Same day is ideal.
  • Don’t pre-cut small or thin pieces (a 4oz. piece of Comté that has been wrapped in plastic for more than 3 days will taste only of the plastic).
  • Follow the diagram on the back of this page to avoid wasting any Comté, and use a cheesewire or double-handled knife to cut. Be sure to cover each cut piece quickly to prevent drying out.

Taste the Cheese Every Day

  • When you offer a sample to your first customer, try it yourself.
  • If you sample from a piece that’s been wrapped in plastic, trim or scrape the surface first or the customer will taste the plastic.

How to Cut Comté

For presentable wedges of Comté without wasting any cheese, follow these easy cutting instructions:

  • For full wheels or for large pieces, use a cheese wire or a double-handled knife to cut the cheese in quarters.
  • Cut the quarter following the illustration above.
  • After cut #4, alternate the cuts so that one side does not dry out.
  • Wrap each piece soon after cutting.

For a printable version of the guide, please click here.