Tome des Bauges
Tome des Bauges is a traditional cheese from the Savoie region of France.
Produced in the mountains since the 17th century, its name translates in the local dialect to “toma cheese made in the pastures.” Indeed, the Abondance, Montbeliard and Tarentaise native breed cows, whose milk is used to produce Tome des Bauges, are fed only with pasture grass and local hay. Since 2002 the diet of the cows and production process of the cheese must follow specific guidelines, which are outlined in the regulations of the AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée).
Cheese production happens once per day, using the cream skimmed off the top of the previous evening’s milk, which has been left in a cauldron (called bagnolet) overnight to promote acidification, as well as the milk of that morning. After rennet is added and milk coagulates, curd is cut with a manual slicer (a tranche caillé), stirred and heated to obtain the desired structure, and then placed in molds (either manually or using automated equipment). After pressing and turning, the cheese is either dry salted or brined (brining happens usually in smaller dairies), and is then aged for a minimum of five weeks.
During aging the wheels are periodically turned and gently rubbed to control the growth of the fuzzy brown mold that proliferates on the surface. This mold is called mucor, also known as ‘cat hair’. The surface of the cheese develops a striking appearance, wrinkly and grey-brown with irregular patches of yellow and red. The rind is 2-3mm thick. Paste of the cheese is slightly firm and soft, with a yellow color.
Tome des Bauges has an earthy, woodsy scent with hints of ammonia. Taste is creamy and rounded, with deep aromas of mushrooms, butter and grass.
Pair Tome des Bauges with a dry Vermouth.