Mont D'Or is an inexpensive, mountain-man (its namesake is a peak in Switzerland) soft cheese in season now across Europe going for about 8 euros in places like Lafayette Gourmet and Bon Marché. It is made from the winter milk of the same breed of cows that produce Gruyere in warmer months. Until recently, it was on the banned French cheese list along with Camembert and Mimolette. Choosing to purchase it at Murray's Cheese instead of smuggling it through customs will run you quadruple the price but is a worthwhile centerpiece of a dinner party or cocktail hour.
Mont D'Or with Fennel, Mushrooms, and Fingerling Potatoes
1 wheel Mont D'Or
2 TB white wine
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 bulb fennel, quartered then
2 TB olive oil
S&P to taste
Boil potatoes in a salted water until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Drain.
Toss fennel and mushrooms with olive oil and S&P; roast at 400F for about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Turn oven down to 325F.
Remove the lid in which the Mont D'Or comes, and wrap wooden container with aluminum foil, covering the sides.
Cut an astrix in the center of the cheese, halfway through. Pour wine into the astrix and stuff in garlic clove, whole.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 325F, until cheese is soft and starts to bubble slightly.
To serve, place potatoes, fennel, and mushrooms on a platter. Serve small bowls to each guest.
Vegetables should be placed in bowls by guests; cheese should be ladled atop.
(Or, of course, can be served with toast.)