The fortress, which covers 21 hectares (51 acres), is protected by a 14 meter (45 Feet) high and 2,5km (1.5 mi) long bailey. Inside, 140,000 Comté wheels are maturing.
Fort des Rousses
At the heart of the Jura massif, at an altitude of 1,150 meters (3,700 feet), stands the Fort des Rousses, the second largest military fortress in France, built under the Second Empire. 70 years of work were necessary to build this giant building of more than 21 hectares (51 acres). Designed by Napoleon to host 3,500 soldiers and 2,000 horses, the Fort des Rousses was converted in 1997 into cheese cellars. With more than 50,000 m² (12 acres) of vaulted rooms, kilometers/ miles of underground galleries and an imposing central esplanade, the Fort is considered as a historical monument.
Its treasure: 140,000 Comté rounds, maturing for at least 12 months and up to 36 months, in perfect conditions. The thickness of the walls provides a stable inner climate while the wonderful stone arches give a natural “vault effect” that favor the natural, slow and permanent air movement.
All these exceptional characteristics give to Fromageries Arnaud Comtés their multiple flavors and unique signature.
JURAFLORE Fort des Rousses & Charles Arnaud AOP/ PDO Comtés
Comté is a cooked pressed cheese made from raw Montbeliarde and Simmental cow’s milk. The AOP/ PDO zone overs mainly 3 departments of the Jura massif, between 200 (650 feet) and 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level : the Doubs, the Jura and the Ain. In order to respect animal welfare and improve milk quality, each cow benefits from at least 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of meadow. The Jura flora diversity within the pastures brings exceptional aromas to the cheeses.
Arnaud Comtés must be made every day without exception using fresh milk which is renneted no more than 24 hours after the last milking. They are characterized by a supple texture which develops typical lactic aromas with plant notes that the whole family will love.
All our JURAFLORE Fort des Rousses and Charles Arnaud AOP/ PDO Comté cheeses aged over 12 months benefit from the special maturing environment of the fortress, giving them a nice creamy texture and long-lasting, powerful and refined complexity in mouth. Patiently matured for at least a year, the Comtés wheels let explode all their aromatic potential transmitted by their mountainous terroir. Succumb to their powerful fruity and roasted blend : you can perceive roasted almonds, melted butter, spices and citrus fruits in mouth … A festival of aromas to be discovered through the wide range of affinage from 12 months to 3 years.
The art of maturing cheeses
It all starts in the pastures of the Haut Jura, where bountiful nature yields hundreds of varieties of flowers that find their way into cows’ milk. The milk is collected in Fruitieres where the cheese maker produces what we call “white” Comté cheese wheels. Then intervenes the maturation steps.
During the pre-maturing phase, the cheese is only salted on the surface and rubbed three times a week to develop the perfect rind, a real protective shell, rich in surface microflora.
Then, during the affinage, the master cheese maturer “listens” to the cheese. This is fundamental to the maturing process. He tests each Comté with his cheese borer to assess its texture, maturity and aging potential. This regular testing and observation are essential for transferring the cheese rounds to the appropriate maturing cellars and for obtaining the best flavors. Thus, Comté rounds are individually monitored and transferred to no fewer than four different cellars with specific air conditions to bring out the best flavors. Arnaud rounds are not offered for sale until they reach their optimum maturity!
The final stages of the maturing process take place in a slow maturing cellar and a storage cellar, when the wheels undergo most of their physical changes and living organisms inside and outside the cheese flourish the most. The number of milk propionibacteria increases 10,000 to 100,000 times.