Tomme is an Alpine mountain style cheese traditionally made in Switzerland and France. It is known for being a cheese that is solely made on the same farm from which its milk is sourced. Tomme-style cheese has a circular round shape, earthy tan-gray-brown rind, and intensely nutty taste. Despite all the similarities, there’s tons of variety when it comes to the type of milk and the overall flavor profile of the cheeses that fall under the umbrella of Tomme. Here at La Verde Oveja, we make this cheese with 100% sheep milk, although many places around the world blend milks together to make Tomme.
There are two distinctive features of Tomme cheese production. Firstly, the milk is heated to only about 85 F which is a lower temperature than in most other cheesemaking. Secondly, the curds are pressed into signature wheel-shaped molds, either by hand or by weights. (Tomme means “wheel” or “round” in French.) The lower heat and shaping create the “Tomme” texture that, though it can range in density and intensity, is always fairly velvety on the palate.
Although most Tomme’s have a common texture, each Tomme can vary in regard to its rind. It can range from a medium tan to a dank, earthy rind. Sometimes it even looks as if the cheese has been dropped in dirt or rolled around in fuzz and have a very weathered look. But do not be afraid to try this cheese. Its seasoned appearance is due to the aging process, which can range from 2 – 6 months. The bacterial microflora in cave-aging creates the earthy rind and lends itself to the rustic, loamy aroma that you smell on this cheese.
The taste of Tomme cheeses can vary wildly with notes ranging from mild grass flavors to deep buttery hazelnut. The differences you will find in the flavor profile of our Tomme cheese will be based on what the sheep are currently eating in the pasture, the season of lactation (how much fat and protein is in the milk) and the length of aging.
Your Tomme cheese will last months if handled correctly and it’s flavor profile will continue to develop over time. For more information on cheese storage information, check out our article “How do I store my Sheep Cheeses?”