Sunday, January 13, 2008

Black Tomme des Pyrenees

"The black tomme of the Pyrenees has been manufactured since the 12th century in the area of Saint-Girons. It grew in local popularity during the 19th century, then its reputation extended to the whole country." -911 Chef Eric (Someone had done a poor translation, so I fixed it up a bit.)

I kept eying this cheese at the store. I've never had cheese that comes in a black rind before. I was very curious. When we returned from our big holiday, I decided to buy a slice.

The black wax peeled off easily and I was left with a pale cheese with small holes throughout. It's pretty. And it tastes good, too. The flavor is not very strong; it's not even that creamy or rich. We've been munching away at it like little cartoon mice. It serves well as a part of our daily aperitif snack. In fact, I like to take a bite of the cheese, then a few salty crackers to chase it. They go well together.

I have to admit that I'm becoming less and less inclined to buy cheese made from cow's milk. It seems more and more boring. Compared to sheep's milk cheese, it has much less flavor. I'm sure this is because I am not trying the right cheeses anymore. This black tomme is actually nice for its lightness, but I guess I'm in the mood for something more rich and spicy. Maybe I need to buy another slice of Roquefort.

Tonight, I had a sample of three different cheeses (black tomme, Camembert, and Parmesean) for dinner. I kept craving the saltiness of the Parmesean. The Camembert was nothing special. But the black tomme was my "break" cheese. When the other two overwhelmed me, I went for the easy-going one.

I don't want to say that the black tomme has no flavor; that's unfair. I also can't easily describe it because of my lack in that art. Maybe I should take a French cheese tasting course while I'm here. And French wine, too...

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