Can you Really Taste Terroir?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Test your palate with a cheese tasting of three mountain-style Tomme cheeses from different regions. Sarah Arbury, manager at Cheesetique in Alexandria (2403 Mount Vernon Ave., 703-706-5300), helped us select these semi-firm cow's-milk cheeses.

Tomme de Savoie ($16.75 per pound): This raw-milk cheese from the Alps in France has deep earthy and hay flavors, thanks to the grass and hay the cows graze on, and mineral notes from the rich natural spring water they drink.

Vermont Ayr ($21 per pound): The Crawford Family Farm's cows graze on alfalfa and clover in Vermont, giving the milk its distinctive taste. It's subtly herbal with a hint of earthiness.

Thomasville Tomme ($26 per pound): The warm weather in Georgia permits Sweet Grass Dairy to feed its cows grass year-round, which is thought to produce sweeter milk. As a result, this cheese has fragrant floral notes. A shorter aging process also creates a lighter flavor.

-- Jane Black


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