francois joseph heim painting
Francois Joseph Heim was born in Belfort
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The name Franche-Comte (free County) had appeared first time on the map of Europe in 1366, when the county parted from Burgundy. Among the regions of France, this one is one of the smallest, most "agricultural" and chaste. This area is, first of all and especially, attractive to the venerators of nature pristine corners, skiing activities lovers, active tourists and fishermen. Here tourists can visit one of the most amazingn caves in Europe Osselle Cave, and other wondrous nature sights. The national reserves "Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Reserve" and "Ballon d'Alsace Massif" belong here. Fishing in rivers and lakes is authorized in Franche-Comte, and they say, the province is fishermen's paradise. The special fame of Franche-Comte - its domestic cheese. Up to 80% of milk produced in the region is used in cheese making. The best known cheese of the region is Comte. The province is known for its wines too, which step out of a usual notion about French wine. The first wine to be mentioned is famous vin Jaune, or "yellow wine", which is prepared by means of a special technology. This wine not only works and is fermented through the process, but is essentially condensing, and acquires finally unique taste and texture, resembling Sherry. There is even a special tourist route "Jura Wine Road" in Franche-Comte. It can be judged of the province's attractive power for tourist by the names of other tourist routes: "Rivers and waterfalls in Franche-Comte", "Lakes Route", "Fir Tree Route", "Louis Pasteur Route", "Comte Cheese Route"...

fishing in franche-comte
Camera in hand
through Franche-Comte

The region's area -16202 thousand sq. km. The population is approximately - 1.2 million people. The part of countryside population speak in local dialect, which is difficult to understand for outliers. Main cities of the province are: Besancon, Belfort, Montbeliard, Dole (the old capital up to the end of the 17th century), Vesoul, Lons-le-Saunier. Very interesting place to visit is fort de Joux near the town of Pontarlier. In Besancon, tourists are to visit the monument of the16th century Palais Granvelle, fortress La Citadellel (Vauban's citadel) and the St. Jean cathedral of the 12th century. The main monument in Belfort is the famous "lion's head" sculpture. Belfort is the homeland of famous french painter Francois Joseph Heim.

map of franche-comte province

Cheese Comte

French cheese Comte is usually denominated as the king of French cheeses. It is aged in cellars up to 24 months (for 8 months at least). Its main taste is that of hazelnut and main smell is that of fresh French fruits. But never it's quite the same. Taste and flavor change from year to year, from village to village, from producer to producer. Comte cheese is the staple of Franche-Comte cuisine. Whatever you're eating, it is rather difficult to escape it included in the dish, or at least one of its brothers - regional mountain cheeses.

Cheese Tart

(tarte au fromage)

If cooking for 4 people, take: 2 eggs,1 cup of sour cream, 300 gr. cheese (comte is preferable, but you can use any other cheese without sharp taste and odour), about 40 gr. of butter for the filling and 100 gr. for the pastry dough, 3/4 cup of milk, 200 gr. of flour for the pastry dough, 1 tablespoon of flour for the filling, about 1/2 glass of water for the pastry dough.

Combine the ingredients and prepare the pastry dough. Roll it, form a ball, then fit it into a pan or pie mold, a layer not thicker than 1 cm. Melt in a small pot butter, add the flour and milk and keep on a weak fire. Stir constantly and wait until cream thickened. Then put in the pot sour cream, grated cheese, eggs, add pepper and salt according to your taste, and lastly add some quantity of nutmeg. Stir the mixture and pour into the pan over the pastry. Bake at the temperature of 200 C for about an hour or less until golden crust appear.

cheese tart

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