The Jura region of France(Jörg Brockmann)
JURA REGION, FRANCE
Mo Frechette: Founder of Zingerman's Mail Order, which sells artisanal food from all around the globe (zingermans.com)
As the founder of the Zingerman's mail-order catalogue and website--entities within the Ann Arbor-based gourmet- food juggernaut--Mo Frechette is constantly on the lookout for artisanal food. Frechette combines visits to international trade shows with pilgrimages to farms in the surrounding countryside. "My trips usually involve long drives and a lot of getting lost," Frechette admits.
One of his favorite revelations was on a cheese mission in the oft-overlooked Jura region in eastern France, about an hour's drive from Geneva. "It's sort of like Wisconsin crossed with Switzerland," Frechette says. "There are almost 200 different creameries making the main cheese of the region, Comté. And not many tourists." Frechette stayed in the town of Jougne ("in the middle of things, cheese-wise"), stopped by the cheese and wine shops in nearby villages like Les Hôpitaux-Vieux, and visited local cheese makers. The Fromagerie Marcel Petite at Fort de St.-Antoine particularly impressed him: "It's a giant underground fort built in the 1800s, now used to store some 60,000 wheels of Comté--there's almost nothing I've ever seen like it. Plus, the cheese is fantastic."
How to get there: Hôtel La Couronne, 6 rue de l'Église, Jougne, 011-33/3-81-49-10-50, from $81; Fruitière des Hôpitaux-Vieux, 2 place de la Mairie, Les Hôpitaux-Vieux, 011-33/3-81-49-12-44; Fromagerie Marcel Petite, Fort de St.-Antoine, comte-petite.com, tours on Thursday $7.50, reserve with the tourism office at the Vallée des Deux Lacs, 011-33/3-81-69-31-21.