Its the end of exams, which means my attention and efforts in life can finally be diverted to more spiritual endeavors, namely cheesemongering and catching up on episodes of Scandal. I perused the a local hoity-toity grocery store earlier today with Memère because we received a 20% off coupon on all “holiday specialty cheeses” (what does that even mean…?) Regardless, we made a trip out of it and even though Memère wanted to buy all the cheese we will need for the upcoming festivities, I said “no means no memère and we only get two cheeses today!” Upon arrival, the highly-touted cheese section turned out to be nothing more than a glorified packaged cheese case with no funky smells. However, I saw a glimmer of hope wedged into the corner – moldy-looking, runny blue and brown crusted tomme crayeuse! Check out that nasty:
Beautiful granite croûte, scents of damp earth and fungus, and a pâte just itching to melt all over the place. I was almost reminded of some camembert-cauliflower complex, but this cheese is grade-A american pasteurized milk (although it is a tomme in the same image as a tomme de savoie from the region in France). Unfortunately, I believe my tomme crayyyyyyeuse had been sitting neglected in the display case for several days because upon unwrapping there was a perceptible gust of ammonia and microbial funk. Also, crayeuse means chalky in French, but our just-too-ripe tomme was nothing but pure, salty cream (no complaints except just a little). The pâte, which was definitely a little less runny in the center, did have variable tastes – more salt and leafy green richness/bitter nearer to the exterior and more milder cream butter (like a brie not acclimated enough yet) in the interior. It was an exciting find for Bellevue, especially because tomme crayeuse is a new addition to the cheese world, having been introduced in 1997 by someone important. We paired it with a lovely Duck Pond 2010 Pinot Noir, and that smooth medium body blackberry/plum tannin profile was something divine with our tomme.