Leaving La Forge d'Isidore on a frosty, sunny Friday morning, we wandered deep into the Jura mountains, stumbling across Fromagerie Laviron at 9am, just in time to witness the slinging of the Comté curds into the pressing molds. Perched in the middle of the village of Laviron, this cooperative produces about 30 wheels of Comté per day from fresh, raw cow's milk, each weighing 40 kilos (88 pounds). The cheesemakers were very kind, taking time out of their busy schedule to lead us through their operation and aging cellar. We tasted the fresh curds, and then they vacuum packed some of their 18 month reserve which we will be serving at our next Farm Dinner! Be sure to join us!
From Laviron, we followed the twisting alpine roads into Switzerland, enjoying a brief visit to the Fort de Joux, soaring above the French-Swiss border. Here the terrain is increasingly alpine, with all of the grasses and flowers shyly emerging from their wintry cloaks. Patches of snow lied melting in shaded valleys, and alpine flowers peeked through tufts of green-brown grass. We continued along the lac Léman, sampling wine and enjoying a delightful lunch above a vineyard of Pinot Noir and Gamay overlooking the lake. With the afternoon sun rendering the alpine slopes a glittering golden hue, we arrived at la Ferme de Mont Charvin in time to view the evening milking of the Abbondance cows, whose milk is rendered into Beaufort, Tomme de Savoie, Reblochon and Morbier, classic mountain cheeses of the Haute-Savoie.