Comte is a French cheese made of unpasteurized milk produced during the summer. It’s aged in caves in the Alps for up to two years and is most known for its complex flavors. Comte is described as fruity, yet sweet and salty, and very savory.
It’s most commonly used for making fondue, or for a pleasant addition to salads and sandwiches. Due to the tedious process and the exclusivity of comte, cheese lovers may find themselves looking for alternatives. Luckily, there are a few that imitate the rich flavor of comte.
Substitutes most comparable to comte are gruyere, beaufort, gouda, fontina, raclette, jarlsberg, and emmentaler. They may not mimic comte’s exquisite taste perfectly, but they have similar properties that work just fine for cooking and serving.
The manufacturing process of gruyere is very similar to that of comte, the only difference is the region they’re made in. Because comte is made in France, it uses French milk, whereas gruyere is usually Swiss. The different environments affect the flavors slightly.
Since they’re made so similarly, gruyere is your best bet when finding a substitute for comte. Some say that gruyere has more notes of hazelnut, but the age of the cheese is what makes the flavors vary. Ultimately, gruyere is comte, it just isn’t from France.
Beaufort is a dense cheese produced in France. It’s similar to Swiss gruyere, minus the holes. The milk in beaufort cheese comes from cows that live at a high altitude in the French Alps. The altitude is what sets beaufort apart and gives it its own taste.
It melts easily and is most commonly used for making fondue. In comparison to comte, it has a subtler flavor. Because of this, it produces a creamier paste. If it ages long enough it will produce a more sharp taste. Beaufort is also known to pair well with salmon and other fish.
Gouda is probably the most cost-efficient alternative to comte, it’s an everyday cheese in the US and available in many grocery stores. It has the same functionality of comte when it comes to cooking, but the taste is much milder than comte. It’s described as fruity and nutty.
Gouda is less salty than comte, though, and the taste difference is recognizable but it’s one of the easiest to locate and purchase in the US.
This Italian cheese is quite different from comte but can be used for the same purposes. If your goal is to find a cheese that perfectly mimics the taste of comte, this isn’t the one. However, it’s a good choice if you don’t mind switching things up and trying something different. Its taste has undertones of roasted nuts and butter.
Raclette is one of the best cheeses for melting. Most raclette cheese is made in Switzerland, and it’s smooth and dense. It’s milky and nutty and has small holes sporadically placed over the surface area, like most Swiss cheeses.
This is an Alpine cheese that has seamless melting capabilities. It makes a great choice for fondue but it’s best served in baked dishes because of its sharp taste.
Emmentaler is another Swiss cheese, from Emmental. Its texture is somewhat hard and it also has holes throughout. When heated it turns into a silky liquid, much like what comte is known for. This makes it a great substitute to comte and it goes perfectly into any recipe that involves melting cheese.
When emmental cheese is young, its flavor is on the saltier side but as it ages it becomes more sharp and fruity. It’s one of the best cheeses to use for recipes that melt cheese, like casseroles and fondue.
This cheese is Norwegian and made from cow’s milk. It’s very comparable to comte, but its texture is more buttery. It’s very versatile and can be used for sandwiches or salads; or for melting. It has a rubbery texture and a nutty flavor.
It’s one of the most common cheeses seen sliced in supermarkets and delis throughout the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and of course its hometown, Norway. Up until the company who owns jarlsberg moved locations, 80% of Norway’s cheese exports were attributed to jarlsberg.
Comte is one of the most divine and renowned cheeses. Because of this, it’s also fairly exclusive and may be difficult to find, especially in America. Luckily, the cheese industry has no shortage of sufficient substitutes for comte cheese.
These seven cheeses are diverse in the kitchen and comparable to comte’s melting abilities. At least one of them is likely readily available for you right now.