Produced by the Trappist monks at the Abbaye Notre Dame de Timadeuc in the town of Brehan in Brittany, northern France, Timanoix is semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese.
In many respects, Timanoix is a classic monastic cheese, meaning that it belongs to the washed-rind, slightly pungent, family of cheeses, frequently made and sold by monasteries or abbeys using milk from their own herds of animals or from a neighbor. The cheeses also provide a welcome source of income.
Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, the aspect that sets Timanoix apart is that after production the cheeses are regularly washed with a solution of walnut liqueur (also made by the monks) and brine. The saltiness of the brine helps to promote the growth of the rind, while the cheese simultaneously takens on the distinct flavors imparted by the walnut liqueur. (The “noix” in Timanoix means “nut” in French.)
The resulting cheeses are quite small, about 10oz each, with a richly dark-colored, yet thin rind and very distinct aromas of earth, leather and walnuts.
The interior texture of the cheese is semi-soft and smooth and is a pale straw color, becoming darker towards the rind.
Flavors are a wonderful balance of spicy sweetness, with savory, meaty and herbaceous notes and just the faintest hint of bitterness at the end. A really unique and delicious cheese.