Monday, May 9, 2011

Cheese: Tomme de Savoie

Tomme is a type of cheese produced from cow skim milk left over after cream has been removed from milk to produce butter or richer cheeses, or when there is too little milk to produce a full cheese. It is produced mainly in the French Alps and Switzerland, usually identified by the place of origin. The most famous is Tomme de Savoie, 
produced in Savoie in the French Alps, near Switzerland. It has a thick brownish-gray rind 
and a beige interior. 
It is pressed, then matured for several months, in this case, in natural caves for 90 days, which produces the thick rind and adds flavor. It can have a slightly different taste depending on whether the cows are fed on winter hay or summer grass. It has pockets of air, similar to Havarti, and it tastes old, or earthy, like it has been buried, with a flat, semi-deep taste. 
The rind is dry, a little bitter, a little of an off-taste, reminiscent of tripe. This probably comes from the many indigenous and beneficial molds typically speckled on the rind. 
The smell is not too bad, but hints of what is to come. It has been described as "an aroma reminiscent of a cheese cellar" or a cave. It also reminds me a little of a mushroom just harvested from beneath a rotting log. It is not one of my favorite cheeses, but the color and taste is very different which makes it fun to try.  

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