Tomme Crayeuse: An Intriguing Cheese
October 16, 2010
Tomme Crayeuse is a compelling cheese that is relatively new on the market. Crayeuse, meaning “chalky” in French, aptly describes what gives this cheese its character and makes it so appealing.
Tomme Crayeuse is a tall, tomme-style cheese from the Savoie region of France. It is produced from raw cow’s milk cheese by Max Schmidhauser and has been on the market since 1997. This cheese is considered a semi-soft cheese, yet its chalky interior paste is quite soft.
Tomme Crayeuse looks weathered and old. It has a natural brown rind that is hard, dry and covered with white, yellow and grey surface molds. The rind’s aromas of wet soil, mushrooms and manure evoke images of dank forest.
Tomme Crayeuse’s interior paste is yellow-white. The paste near the rind is creamy and smooth; the paste nearer the center has a lighter color and denser consistency. The paste smells fresh and sweet.
The marriage of Tomme Crayeuse’s creamy paste and dense paste creates an appealing play of flavors and textures in the mouth. Its flavors start sharply nutty, but balance with a rich buttery sweetness and a sour fruitiness. The denser paste at the center of the cheese seems to have a stronger nuttiness to its flavor than the sweeter creamier paste. Tomme Crayeuse’s flavors coat the mouth nicely and leave a mild nutty after-taste.
Tomme Crayeuse was a big hit during our tasting. The flavors of this cheese seem to change, depending on what part of the paste one is eating and this added to its intrigue. We agreed that this is a cheese to re-purchase.
This cheese offers visual interest, varying textures, and balanced flavors. Tomme Crayeuse would be a great cheese for a casual meal, excellent for snacking, and a good one to share with friends.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Tomme Crayeuse at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco).