I’ve got to admit, opening up today’s cheese did not immediately make me feel like it was going to be a treat. Rather, I expected it was going to be something I’d have to ‘stomach’ or ‘endure’.
Tomme is a term that indicates the small, round shape of the cheese and today’s ‘tomme’ was both filled, and covered, with forest-grown, wild garlic. If you garlic lovers think that sounds perfectly delightful, wait until you see the picture…
(Wondering ‘Why the daily cheese posts?’… read this 🙂 )
l’Ail des Ours
I’d heard of l’ail des ours (bear’s garlic) before. My neighbour has some growing in his garden and planted it there for use in the kitchen. Once his clump is thick enough, he’s promised to share, and if past is prologue, I have no doubt that some will be growing in our garden at one point. It’s reputed to be delicious in pesto!
To see it’s effect on a wedge of cheese though, was less pleasant that the thought of it mixed in a soup or a sauce of some kind…. I give you, the tomme à l’ail des ours:
Day #10: Tomme à l’Ail des Ours
- Name: Tomme à l’Ail des Ours
As I mentioned above, ‘tomme’ refers to the size and shape of the uncut cheese round, so let me get to the second part. ‘l’ail des ours‘ (bear’s garlic) gets its name quite logically. The botanical name of the plant is ‘Allium ursinum’. ‘allium’ puts it square in the garlic family and ‘ursinum’ is the reference to bears. It’s called this because this wild garlic flourishes in the late winter / early spring and is one of the first plants that is available to bears coming out of hibernation after their long winter’s nap.
- Region: The Haute Savoie region (see map). This is one of the most mountainous region of France, in the heart of the Alps.
- Milk: Cow’s milk
- Our Score: 4.5/5
This was one really good cheese. I think the only thing that earned it a 4.5 and not higher was the look of it. There’s a saying that ‘we eat with our eyes before anything even passes over our lips’, and our eyes weren’t eating this one up. Resolved to try however (it’s one of the whole points of the Cheesy Christmas sampler), we dug in and were not disappointed. The black-ish green rind was not as bad, nor as tough as we expected. It was quite a firm cheese and the taste was wonderful. Wild garlic is not nearly as sharp tasting as bulb garlic, so the flavour was subtly delicious.
Cheese quote of the day
Alissa Nutting, author of the novel ‘Made for Love’, offers up this tidbit…
“Melted cheese is a culinary veil…a foxhole where mediocrity can hide.”
… ummmm…. ‘Guilty as charged’…. I’ve been there & done that! 🙂
Happy Cheesy Christmas….
See you day after tomorrow for cheese #11
(Liz & I will be out of town tonight)