Comice pears are perhaps the best pears for eating raw. They have a great fruity aroma and flavor and a slightly finer, less grainy texture than other pear varieties. They are almost a cross between a bosc pear (itself a fine variety) and an asian pear (super crisp and apple-like).
Comice pears are slightly more rounded and apple-shaped than other pears. Look for Comice pears that feel heavy for their size and test the fruit around the stem to see if the pear is ripe: it should be quite tender and smell like, well, a ripe pear.
Comices are so good raw, it seems a shame to cook them, but you can. They won't fall apart like Bartlett pears.
Comice pears are usually available September through February.