If elegant Beaufort is the proud stallion, Tomme de Savoie is the workhorse of its home region. It is straightforward, not terribly complicated, and deliciously rustic. Just like the Savoyardes who produce it.
There are faux versions of this cheese, made in other regions like the Auvergne, but aged (affiné) in the Savoie. The ones to look for will be actually produced (fabrique) from start to finish in the mountains.
True Tomme de Savoie is sweetish, with just a bit of salt, and tastes like hazelnuts soaked in milk. The aroma can smell like mushrooms and hay.
The rind is thick and dark, with a powdery surface. Inside, the paste is generally ivory colored, and speckled through with small holes. The rounds come packed in wooden cylinders, about eight inches across and two inches thick.
The Tomme is never a great centerpiece on any table; it’s too unassuming for that. Nevertheless, it does have many charms.
As a basic peasant cheese it's terrific, perfect with an apple and a loaf of dense, crusty farmer’s bread. Take it along next time you go for a hike in the French Alps, or wherever you choose to picnic.
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PAIRINGS: This cheese goes well with milder saucisson and other smoked or cured meats. Wine pairings should not be too fussy, either. For reds, try a Barbera d’Asti or a medium Zinfandel. Whites of all sorts are nice, too. So are crisp pilseners and other sharp, light-bodied beers.