Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cheesewatch - Etorki and Tomme Noire des Pyrenees

It's been ages since I did a cheesewatch - my very irregular reports on trying new cheese. Mostly because I often fail to try new cheeses. I came across Morbier recently and it's become a new favourite, but often I fall back on the tried and true or just don't buy cheeses for snacking unless I'm having people over or something. So I decided today that I would take advantage of being in France and try something new, and I selected Etorki because it was on sale and a Tomme Noire des Pyrenees just because it was reasonably cheap. By chance, they both come from around the same region.



The Etorki is a Basque sheep's milk cheese that looks much like a big Port Salut or Saint Paulin, with the same sort of rind plus semi-soft inside. It has a pleasant creamy texture and a good flavour without being especially strong. It actually reminds me of sort of a medium cheddar flavour, but with a completely different texture. Quite nice! However, because it is so creamy, a little goes a long way - you probably won't want to sit there eating the whole block (not altogether a bad thing!) It's not an AOC cheese, so you could theoretically make Etorki anywhere, although it's definitely marketed as a Basque cheese and my sample, at least, was produced in the region.

The Tomme, on the other hand, is a cow's milk cheese. I've had Tomme from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais before, when we toured a farm. As far as I remember (kind of traumatised by the video we watched featuring cow birth - or was it a sheep birth? We went to a cow and a sheep farm, so I forget) that was a very hard cheese. This one has a black rind (hence the name) and is softer than the Etorki, although still with approximately the same sort of texture. It has quite an unusual flavour, stronger and more distinctive than the Etorki with a bit of a sour cottage-cheese type aftertaste. I can imagine some people not liking it, but I do. I like cottage cheese too, for that matter (which they don't seem to sell in France? Fromage fouette is an addictive alternative though!) This one is AOC.

So there you go - two cheeses, two tasty new experiences!

12 comments:

  1. Even though I don't eat a lot of cheese, I love learning about it. Etorki is an interesting name for a cheese-it sounds more like it would be used for creatures from the planet, Etork.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh I meant to put that in - it says on the packet it's Basque for "origin". It would be more fun if it were aliens from the planet Etork though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love both of those cheeses and have been munching (lightly) on an Etorki myself. I always thought that Tomme was a chevre cheese though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It just said "lait" on the label, so I assumed it was cow's milk but wasn't sure, so looked Tomme de Pyrenees up in Wikipedia and they said cow's milk. I just looked up 'Tomme' in Wikipedia and it says it's a generic name for a type of cheese that can be made with cow or goat milk and then you get into the different regional varieties which may be AOC.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a cheesy load of info

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gwan,

    Some dear friends from Boston are traveling to NZ in February, so I posted the link for your blog when Mike asked for suggestions about where to get more info for their upcoming trip. I hope that you don't mind.

    Here's the post with their itinerary:

    Our winter vacation will take us to the other side of the world

    ReplyDelete
  8. Not at all, I actually saw the incoming link on my stats page and just left a comment on Mike's blog with a couple of ideas. I'm one of those terrible people who hasn't travelled around a lot of her own country (especially as an adult), but I'm happy to do my best if he has any questions. It looks like they've got stuff pretty worked out though!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These cheeses sound great and affordable. I got sweet talked by a bio cheese man giving me sample after sample and was scammed out of 40 euros for 3 big slices of cheese (the prices weren't listed up front). I couldn't believe how badly I was ripped off! However, if you can find a non bio version of Pavé Correzien cheese, it's quite delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  10. D'oh! I always worry that will happen at the cheese counter! Yeah, I think it was 5-6 euros for both of them, they are supermarket cheeses though. I'll keep an eye out for Pavé Correzien.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Etorki sounds Japanese..like a garnish for sushi!

    It looks good though! I'm a big "cheesehead"...this post inspired me to bust open the treats I picked up at the fromagerie today. Nom, nom, nom...excuse me while I go stuff my face.

    I'm trying to lose those winter lbs, Gwan! :P

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sigh, tell me about it! (She says, sipping her Baileys hot chocolate)

    ReplyDelete

Feed the Comment Monster! Rawrrrr