Whether it was a knee-jerk reaction to yesterday’s very strong Picodon or a genuine appreciation, today’s Timanoix was a hit! Smell… taste… texture… everything was back up on the higher end of the scale and we rated it among the best to date.
One interesting thing that we learned today is that secularization is having an impact on the cheese industry. Who knew that man’s increasingly greater withdrawal from God would affect cheese, yet it does!
(If you’re wondering ‘Why the daily cheese posts?’, see this post.)
Cheese production is far from being a hap-hazard affair and details matter, right down to the size of the cheese round. For Timanoix, the rounds are 9cm (3.5″) in diameter, 3.5cm (1.5″) thick, and weight 300g (just over 10.5oz).
Such precision is part of what makes cheeses instantly recognizable to true aficionados (which we are not). It’s a little like branding in a way.
Now though, let’s get into it…
Day #8: Timanoix
- Name: The name Timanoix comes from the combination of two words:
- Timadeuc – the name of the abbey where this cheese was originally produced, and
- noix – the French word for ‘walnut’. The characteristic smell and flavour of this cheese, along with the dark colour of the rind, are due to repeated washing, during the aging process, with a derivative of walnut oil (yes… when you press walnuts, you get oil… there’s an oil press not far from Châtellerault).
- Region: Le Morbihan is an area with the greater Brittany region (see map below).
- Milk: Pasteurized Cow’s milk.
- Our Score: 4.4/5
As I mentioned at the outset, I’m not sure if it was just a pleasant relief to have something much less pronounced than yesterday’s Picodon cheese or a true appreciation for Timanoix itself, but this one was a hit! We all loved the nutty smell – that opened the way for a taste. The rind is edible and indeed, carries some of the extra flavour (to avoid the crust would be to miss half of the flavour of this cheese). The closer we got to the outer rind, the stronger the flavour and the firmer the texture. For all that though… 4.4/5 is good!
Cheese and God:
This is fascinating…
Nuns in the Dordogne region (light orange on the map) began making this cheese in the late 1990s, because walnuts were an abundant resource. They called it ‘Le Petit Noix’ (the little walnut), but quickly found that they couldn’t keep up with the demand. The put out the invitation for other religious orders to help.
Monks from the Timadeuc Abbey, in Le Morbihan, answered the call and made the cheese following the same procedure, calling it the ‘Timanoix’ to distinguish it from ‘Le Petit Noix’.
While the monks still look after the cheese during the aging and washing process, they no longer do the ‘heavy lifting’ (so to speak) of producing it from the raw elements. The reason? There are no longer enough monks at the abbey to meet the demand.
Hence… the growing distance between mankind and God has meant that rather than being entirely produced by the monks, Timanoix is produced by a private dairy and only aged at the abbey.
Interesting isn’t it, how seemingly unrelated things can actually be… related.
Cheesy quote of the day
In the early 1900s, American comic actor W. C. Fields said:
“The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.”
Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you tomorrow for cheese #9