Tome de Chalosse: Nutty and Sour

September 28, 2010

French Tome de Chalosse could be a kissing cousin to Urgelia from Spain.  These two washed rind cheeses have a similar look and feel, yet they differ in flavor.  While Urgelia won several fans in our house, Tome de Chalosse did not.

We tasted Urgelia and Tome de Chalosse on the same evening and had a hard time keeping them separate on our plates.   Typically, we try not to taste similar cheeses at the same time because comparisons are inevitable.  However, Urgelia and Tome de Chalosse were purchased by separate shoppers for our tasting and it wasn’t until we assembled the evening’s cheese plate that we realized their similarity.

Tome de Chalosse

Like Urgelia, Tome de Chalosse is a semi-soft, washed rind cow’s milk cheese.  It is produced in the Aquitaine region of southern France.

Tome de Chalosse has irregular, flat holes in its yellow-white paste.  To the touch, the interior is firm, smooth and a bit greasy.  The rind is very thin (more like a skin), dry and shows tan beneath a layer of white powder.

The exterior rind of Tome de Chalosse smells of minerals and dried flowers.  Jacob mentioned a soap scent.  The interior paste smells buttery.

The flavor profile of Tome de Chalosse is similar to Urgelia.  It has a pronounced nuttiness, some sourness and ends with a light fruity bitterness.  The natural rind adds to the bitterness so we did not eat it.  This cheese coats the mouth with flavor.  Compared to Urgelia, this cheese has a stronger nuttiness, lingering sourness, and less bitterness.  Tome de Chalosse’s texture is more chewy, wet and rubbery than Urgelia.

Our tasters were mixed on Tome de Chalosse; two liked this cheese, one didn’t, and one thought it “just okay.”  Between Urgelia and Tome de Chalosse, my family chose Urgelia because of its flavors.  No one asked for a re-purchase of Tome de Chalosse.

Notes on purchasing:  We purchased Tome de Chalosse at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).

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