Tomme de Savoie

Some Context:

Regarding gastronomical matters, it’s okay to go against the grain. For every food that your friends, family members, various media outlets, etc. herald as the best thing to grace this earth since white bread (ehh, let’s go with sourdough instead), there are always a handful of us who disagree with the popular sentiment. Blame it on a bad childhood experience involving a night spent over the toilet after too much banana bread. Or maybe it’s your genes; you can’t help it if you are predisposed to despise the taste of certain vegetables. In the case of distinctly or intensely flavored foods, like oysters or kimchi, it could be that your palate just hasn’t yet evolved to acquire a taste for those delicacies. Lastly, and worst of them all, it’s possible that you have preconceived opinions about a food with which you actually have no experience. If the latter is the case, I advise you to make like Sam-I-Am and open your mind to whatever your own version of green food is. Otherwise you are denying yourself the experience of one of life’s greatest sensations by being closed-minded and stubborn.

Let me revise my statement from above: Regarding gastronomical matters, sometimes, it’s okay to go against the grain.

Anyway, this discord happens a lot when we’re talking about cheese. I’ve covered a few on here before that are particularly controversial (i.e. époisses, stilton) but I’ve always sided with “yay” over “nay.” For my seventeenth cheese however, I finally found one that doesn’t jive with my palate and it happens to be a beloved French classic: Tomme de Savoie.

Let’s break it down here: “tomme” comes from the latin word “toma” which means something along the lines of “hunk,” “round,” or “piece.” Tomme is a style of cheese which indicates it was made with skim milk (left over after the cream is used to make butter or a richer cheese), making it low in fat. It is either uncooked or cooked at a very low temperature, making it softer in texture and is pressed before it’s aged which gives it its cylindrical, concave shape. Not all tommes need to be “de savoie,” a region in the southeastern part of France, based in the Alps. Tomme Crayeuse, Tomme Brulee, Tomme de Bosquet de Chevre, Tomme de Fontenay, Tomme de Jura, Tomme de Reblochon, Tomme de Vieux Saulnois, Tomme Fermiere d’Alsace, Tomme Maison, Tomme Rabelais are a few Tommes Vaudoise are all examples of Tomme-style cheeses made elsewhere. But the OG of them all is Tomme de Savoie whose origins go back centuries.


Procuring and Tasting:

I think people love Tommes because of their rustic and straightforward taste. Cheese expert Steven Jenkins raves “it is a cheese completely unrefined and perfectly delicious.” Tomme de Savoie has a natural rind that imparts a grassy flavor. It’s also very herbal and carries notes of hazelnuts. To me, I think the texture (semi-soft) combined with the bitterness makes it…erm…unappetizing. It didn’t sit well with me. I wasn’t holding myself back from reaching for more. I just didn’t like it that much.

Due to my distaste for Tomme De Savoie, I didn’t feel inclined to cook with it. If after reading my review, you’re still interested in trying Tomme de Savoie (which I think you should!) and you feel inspired to bake with it, you should try this recipe and let me know how it turns out.

Sorry for the late and brief post. As you might imagine, I was feeling less than inspired about this cheese.


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