What is Tomme Crayeuse? The Chalky Delight from Savoie

What is Tomme Crayeuse? The Chalky Delight from Savoie - Cheese Origin

Tomme Crayeuse, the chalky delight from Savoie, is an intriguing marvel of the cheese world. This semi-soft, French cheese holds a unique allure with its distinctive, mottled rind and creamy, supple interior.

Aged in humid caves, it develops an earthy, slightly tangy flavor that is as enigmatic as the mountainous terrain of its origin. Known for its chalky center, hence the name ‘Crayeuse’, this cheese unfolds a complex palette of flavors, making it a coveted gem amongst cheese enthusiasts.

Quick Facts About Tomme Crayeuse

Quick FactsDetails
Country of OriginFrance
Milk TypeCow’s Milk
TextureSemi-soft, Creamy
ColorPale Yellow
FlavorNutty, Tangy
AromaEarthy, Musty
Ageing Time1-2 Months
PairingsFruity Red Wines, Dark Beers
Serving SuggestionsOn a cheese board, in sandwiches
Shelf LifeUp to 6 weeks (refrigerated)
Nutritional BenefitsHigh in protein, calcium
Unique FeatureChalky center that becomes creamier towards the rind

What is Tomme Crayeuse?

What is Tomme Crayeuse?

Tomme Crayeuse, a gem from the French mountains of Savoy, is a cheese that captivates with its unique character. Its name, which translates to ‘chalky’, is a nod to its distinct texture – a chalky center that gradually becomes creamier as it nears the rind.

This delightful cheese was brought to life in 1995 by the affineur Max Schmidhauser, adding a relatively recent creation to the rich tapestry of French cheeses. Made from either pasteurized or raw cow’s milk, Tomme Crayeuse is left to age in caves, allowing its flavors to develop and mature.

The result is a cheese that is chalky yet creamy, earthy yet buttery. The term ‘Tomme’ refers to a type of natural rind wheel that’s small, round, and flat, often possessing a nutty and velvety quality. Tomme Crayeuse certainly lives up to this, offering a nutty flavor profile with faint notes of toast and straw.

In a modern twist on Tomme de Savoie, Tomme Crayeuse starts with a chalky texture that turns creamy and runny over time. Weighing between 3 1/2 and 4 pounds, this cheese from France’s Savoie region has been known to challenge old favorites and win, thanks to its captivating flavor and texture. Whether served on a cheese board, paired with a fruity red wine, or savored by itself, Tomme Crayeuse offers a taste of French tradition that is sure to delight.

What Does Tomme Crayeuse Taste Like?

Tomme Crayeuse is renowned for its complex and intriguing flavor profile. The cheese is characterized by a unique blend of nutty and tangy notes. As you first taste it, you’re likely to notice the slight sharpness, which is beautifully balanced by a deep, earthy undertone.

The interior of the cheese, which is chalky as suggested by the name ‘Crayeuse’, offers a slightly milder flavor. As you move towards the rind, the texture becomes creamier, and the flavors become more pronounced. Here, the cheese reveals hints of butter, providing a rich, savory experience.

The natural rind of Tomme Crayeuse adds another layer to the tasting experience. It’s somewhat musty and complements the overall flavor of the cheese perfectly, adding a touch of rustic charm that’s characteristic of French farmhouse cheeses.

Tomme Crayeuse Tasting Notes

  • Flavor: Nutty and tangy with a mild earthiness.
  • Texture: Semi-soft, creamy towards the rind, chalky at the center.
  • Smell: Earthy aroma with a hint of mustiness from the natural rind.
  • Appearance: Natural rind with a pale yellow interior.
  • Taste: Starts mildly sharp, becoming richer and buttery towards the rind.
  • Aftertaste: Lingering notes of cream and nuts, with a slight tanginess.

10 Best Tomme Crayeuse Substitutes

Tomme de SavoieA French cheese similar in texture and flavor to Tomme Crayeuse. It has a semi-soft texture and a mildly fruity, nutty flavor.
ComtéA hard, cow’s milk cheese from France. It has a complex, nutty flavor that can stand in for Tomme Crayeuse.
GruyèreA Swiss cheese with a slightly grainy texture and a rich, creamy, slightly nutty flavor.
FontinaAn Italian cheese known for its earthy flavor and creamy texture, which melts well.
ReblochonA soft washed-rind and smear-ripened French cheese known for its creamy texture and nutty flavor.
BrieA soft cheese with a mild yet deeply savory flavor, similar to the creaminess of Tomme Crayeuse.
CamembertFrench cheese with a bloomy rind, offering a slight tanginess that echoes the sharpness in Tomme Crayeuse.
TaleggioAn Italian cheese with a strong aroma but a relatively mild flavor. Its creamy texture makes it a good substitute.
EmmentalA medium-hard Swiss cheese with a light, slightly nutty flavor. It’s less creamy than Tomme Crayeuse but can be used as a substitute in many dishes.
RacletteA semi-hard Swiss cheese known for its excellent melting qualities. It has a creamy texture and a unique, slightly sweet flavor.

What Pairs Well with Tomme Crayeuse?

What Pairs Well with Tomme Crayeuse?

Food that goes well with Tomme Crayeuse:

BreadsCrusty baguettes, rye bread, sourdough, multigrain bread
Fruits and VegetablesApples, pears, grapes, figs, dates, mixed salad greens, olives
MeatsProsciutto, salami, smoked turkey, roast beef
Nuts and SeedsAlmonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds
Condiments and SpreadsFig jam, honey, mustard, chutney, olive oil
SeafoodSmoked salmon, anchovies, grilled shrimp
DessertsDark chocolate, fruit tarts, apple pie
OthersPickles, sun-dried tomatoes, capers

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?

Beverage that goes well with Tomme Crayeuse:

WinesMerlot, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Savoie White Wine
BeersAmber Ale, Brown Ale, Dark Lager, Belgian Style Ale, Porter
SpiritsWhiskey, Aged Rum, Brandy
Non-Alcoholic BeveragesApple Cider, Pear Juice, Grape Juice, Herbal Tea

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

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