It’s about time for a crazy tomme crayeuse!

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: Image

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.