Tommes de Savoie

8 03 2009

And the featured region for March is… Savoie!  A mountainous region on the Swiss border, Savoie is known for its picturesque ski chalets and abundance (no pun intended) of cow’s milk cheeses.  This month, I am eschewing the more famous Savoyard cheeses like Reblochon and Beaufort in favor of some small-production tommes.  (Actually, I called Nick one evening last week asking if there was a fromagier in the neighborhood where he works, and if he could bring me home some cheeses from Savoie.  This is the kind of phone call you get from me if we’re married.  Awesome husband that he is, Nick delivered these three spectacularly smelly tommes.)  Tomme, as far as I can tell, refers to a semi-firm cheese made in a cylindrical shape.  They are usually named for their town or region of origin.

Three Savoyard cheeses - photo by Nick

From left, we have here Tomme de Bauges, Tomme Marc de Raisin, and Tomme Fermière.  (If the cheese wrappers didn’t get mixed up, that is.)  Surprisingly, the Tomme Fermière was the mildest of the lot.  The pâte is smooth, with medium-sized, round gas bubbles.  Slightly grassy with a hint of sharpness, it’s a good cheese, but not particularly remarkable.  Next, the Tomme Marc de Raisin  has bizarre, crumbly black rind.  It’s a step up from the Fermière, a bit mustier and boozier in flavor, with a stronger, almost floral aroma.  The texture is best described as “curd-y,” meaning that it seems to be composed of many small curds packed together, with uneven holes throughout.  Finally, the Tomme de Bauges is the true standout.  It is clearly the most aged of the three, and smells like Sex Panther.  On the palate, it has a full, mushroomy flavor, which Nick likened to a firm Époisses.

It never ceases to amaze me that someting as simple and basic as milk can be transformed into such a wide variety of textures and flavors.  Let’s hear it for Savoie and its wonderful array of cow’s milk Tommes!  (For all you cheese fans out there, I am submitting this post to Chez Loulou’s monthly Fête du Fromage, which goes up around the 15th of the month.  The assortment of featured cheeses is mouthwatering every time.)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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11 responses

8 03 2009
Eileen@passions to pastry

Would love to sit down with a glass of wine and some of this French cheese.

9 03 2009
Trisha

Oh, pretty cheeses! Intriguing rinds! I call my husband to pick things up on the way home from work, too. But, alas, I can’t ask him to run by our neighborhood fromagier because we don’t have one. Sad, but good old suburban American truth.

9 03 2009
onlinepastrychef

You’re killing me with fromage! They all sound wonderful–just on first glance at the picture, I was digging the weird black rinded cheese, but your description has sold me on the Fermiere.

My husband gets requests like: “Don’t eat that until I can take a picture,” or “Bring me a treat from the store.” One time, he brought me pliers. Now, I’m a bit more specific in my instructions:)

9 03 2009
Colleen

Hah, I would imagine the smell of Sex Panther would turn most people off, despite the pop-up kitty head on the bottle. However, I’m glad you are well aware that the smell and taste of cheese are not always directly correlated (recall our thoughts on munster)…bravo on another fun post.

9 03 2009
croquecamille

Eileen – We do just that almost every night before dinner. Love it!

Trisha – Still, I’m jealous of your backyard and grill. ;)

onlinepastrychef – Pliers. Funny. :)

Colleen – I’m not going to lie to you, it smells like pure kerosene.

10 03 2009
Hopie

Oh my, I feel a Savoie restaurant coming on… Research is very important Camille!

13 03 2009
chezchristineo

Mmm, I would love to try the third tomme. Do you know of a particular shoppe in Paris where I can find the Savoie cheeses? I’m making a list for my stay in Paris this summer! I love your blog…and check it often. Merci beaucoup! Christine

17 03 2009
heather

I meant to get a Tomme de Savoie cheese and an Epoisses this weekend. We ended up having Brie en croute baked with caramelized granny smith apple and onions inside, served with roasted garlic, baguette and rosemary crispbread. A fine substitute!

Cheers,

*Heather*

18 03 2009
croquecamille

chezchristineo – These were purchased at Androuet, which has a few locations around Paris. There is also a great cheese shop on rue Poncelet in the 17th (near the Arc de Triomphe), but pretty much every neighborhood has a wonderful fromager!

heather – That sounds wonderful!

20 03 2009
Nathalie (Spacedlaw)

They all look so good. Tommes are a great favouritewith my husband so we often get them too. They are great on their own or melted in an omelet or in crèpes.

28 04 2009
Daddy-T

Hi, nice blog you have!
I wonder if you know if the world Tomme is an old french world for wheel?
In many books Tomme is reffered to as a cheese from the Savoie but the you can find Tomme from many other places in France.




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