What is Abbaye de Tamié? The Cheese Powering a French Monastery

Abbaye de Tamié (FRANCE) - Cheese Origin

In the heart of the French Alps, nestled between snow-capped peaks and lush green landscapes, lies the quiet monastery of Abbaye de Tamié.

This tranquil retreat, home to Trappist monks for centuries, is not just a place for spiritual reflection but also the birthplace of one of France’s most exquisite culinary treasures: the Abbaye de Tamié cheese.

This humble monastery cheese, crafted with the same devotion and care as the monks’ prayers, has become a symbol of the region’s rich gastronomic heritage.

In this post, we’ll embark on a fascinating journey exploring the unique characteristics of this artisanal cheese, how it’s helping to sustain the monastic life at Abbaye de Tamié, and why it’s earned a special place in the hearts of cheese connoisseurs worldwide.

Quick facts about Abbaye de Tamié

Country of OriginFrance
RegionBourgogne, Saint-Léger-Vauban
Age1 to 2 months
MilkRaw cow’s milk
Weight and shape750 g (1 lb 10 oz), Round
SizeDiameter 18 com (7 Inches), Height 4.5 cm (2 inches)
ProducerAbbaye de Tamié
TasteMild, sweet, milky, nutty, fruity, earthy
PairingApremont, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mondeuse, Merlot or Beaujolais
TextureThin leathery crust (exterior), Supple, springy texture (interior)
Important NoteThe cheese is named after the monastery

What is Abbaye de Tamié?

Abbaye de Tamié cheese is a traditional French cheese made by the monks at the Abbaye de Tamié, located in the Savoie region of France. It is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese made from cow’s milk.

The cheese is known for its creamy and supple texture, with a distinctive, pungent aroma. The flavor profile of Tamié cheese is quite complex, offering notes of earthiness, nuttiness, and a slight tang. Its taste becomes more pronounced and aromatic as it ages.

Each wheel of Tamié cheese is handcrafted at the monastery, following traditional cheesemaking methods that have been passed down through generations. This dedication to quality and tradition gives Tamié cheese its unique characteristics and sets it apart in the world of artisan cheeses.

What does Abbaye de Tamié taste like?

Abbaye de Tamié Cheese

Abbaye de Tamié cheese is celebrated for its unique and rich flavor profile. On the palate, it offers a delightful balance of flavors that can be both subtle and pronounced.

The taste of this semi-soft cheese is often described as mildly tangy with a hint of sweetness. It carries a distinct earthy undertone, which is a characteristic trait of washed-rind cheeses. As it ages, the flavors become more robust and complex, exhibiting a deeper nuttiness.

One of the defining features of Abbaye de Tamié cheese is its creamy and supple texture. When consumed, it melts in the mouth, releasing its full spectrum of flavors, providing a truly indulgent experience.

It’s important to note that just like wine, cheese flavors can vary based on numerous factors including diet of the cows, time of year, and specific aging process. So each experience with Abbaye de Tamié cheese could be a unique delight to your palate!

Abbaye de Tamié Tasting Notes

  • Texture: Abbaye de Tamié is a semi-soft cheese with a creamy and supple texture that melts in the mouth.
  • Flavor: The cheese has a complex flavor profile. It’s mildly tangy with a hint of sweetness. As it ages, the flavors become more robust, exhibiting a deeper nuttiness.
  • Aroma: It carries a distinct earthy aroma, characteristic of washed-rind cheeses.
  • Aftertaste: The aftertaste of Abbaye de Tamié is typically long-lasting and pleasant, leaving a hint of cream and nuttiness on the palate.
  • Pairing: This cheese pairs well with light to medium-bodied red wines, white wines, or even a fruity beer. It also complements well with crusty bread and fruit preserves.
  • Visual: The rind of the cheese is typically orange to brown, with a pale, creamy interior.

What pairs well with Abbaye de Tamié?

Food that goes well with Abbaye de Tamié

CategoryFood Items
BreadBaguette, Sourdough, Rustic Whole Grain Bread
FruitsApples, Pears, Grapes, Dried Fruits like Apricots and Figs
Jams & PreservesFig Jam, Apricot Preserves, Cherry Jam
CharcuterieProsciutto, Salami, Chorizo
NutsAlmonds, Walnuts, Pecans
Honey & SyrupsAcacia Honey, Maple Syrup, Truffle Honey
Vegetables & SaladArugula, Spinach, Roasted Vegetables
SeafoodSmoked Salmon, Grilled Shrimp, Oysters

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?

Beverage that goes well with Abbaye de Tamié

CategoryBeverage Items
White WinesSauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling
Red WinesPinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
BeerBelgian Trappist Ales, Wheat Beers, Fruity Beers
CiderDry Apple Cider, Pear Cider
SpiritsSingle Malt Whisky, Aged Rum, Brandy
Non-AlcoholicSparkling Water, Grape Juice, Apple Juice

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

The History and Origin of Abbaye de Tamié

Abbaye de Tamié cheese has a rich history rooted in the traditions of monastic life. It is produced exclusively by monks at the Trappist Abbey of Tamié, located in the Savoie region of France.

The abbey was founded in 1131, and it’s believed that the cheese recipe is as old as the monastery itself. The founding monk was Peter of Tarentaise, who later became the Archbishop of Moûtiers.

This cheese is a soft variety made from unpasteurised cow’s milk, similar in style to Reblochon. For over a hundred years, the monks have continued the tradition of producing this cheese, known as le Tamié.

The abbey is situated at an altitude of 2952 ft. in the Bauges mountains. Today, around 30 Trappist monks live in the abbey and run a small dairy and cheesemaking operation.

It’s worth noting that in the late 17th century, Tamié was the first Cistercian abbey to adopt reforms known as “La Stricte Observance” that had first been applied at the Cîteaux Abbey.

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