May 29, 2007

La Fête du Fromage - Chaumes, Tomme Noir des Pyrénées and Crottin de Chavignol

The cheeses chosen for this week's tasting were Chaumes, Tomme Noir des Pyrénées and Crottin de Chavignol.

Chaumes is made from pasteurized cow's milk, has an attractive, tangerine colored rind and a springy textured, ivory interior. It is a popular table cheese in France and is produced in the Dordogne region. The flavor is pleasantly nutty and soft, but the odor is quite pungent! Chaumes is a great cheese for grilling.

Tomme Noir des Pyrénées has been produced in the French Pyrénées mountains since the 12th Century. It wrapped in black wax (hence the "noir") and the interior is creamy white with little holes. It is made from unpasteurized cow's milk and offers mild buttery and slightly salty flavors. It is a friendly, easy to eat cheese, but not that interesting.

Named for goat or horse dung, yes dung, Crottin de Chavignol, was named such because its little, squat, drum shape resembled just that. And the name stuck. Bizarre, non ?
It has been produced since the 16th century in the tiny village of Chavignol in the Loire Valley. Crottin de Chavignol is made from goat's milk and was granted AOC status in 1976. It can be eaten young when the flavor is nutty and the texture soft, or aged when it shrinks in size, becomes stronger and the rind becomes moldy and brown colored. Now you understand where it gets it's name!
Delightful when paired with a glass of white Sancerre or fruity Beaujolais.

Bonne Fête du Fromage!

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