Aug 21, 2014

The Habit: Tomme des Moines


Lest you forget that France is historically a Catholic country, just check out some of the people I see out on the streets.


I see the nuns and priests, in particular, much more frequently then I ever did in San Francisco. That's only natural, perhaps, not just because it's historically Catholic but also because I live in an area of ridiculously high concentration of churches.


I like to tell people that it's kind of like how you see Starbucks on every block in the States, but here it's 800-year old churches. Within a one kilometer radius around my apartment, I am surrounded by Eglise Saint-Gervais, Eglise Saint-Louis-en-L'ile, Eglise-Saint Julien-le-Pauvre, Eglise Saint-Severin, Eglise Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet, Eglise Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis, and of course Cathedrale de Notre Dame.

There's even one intersection where you can pivot around see three of those churches: Eglise-Saint Julien-le-Pauvre, Eglise Saint-Severin, and Cathedrale de Notre Dame.

THE CHEESE: Tomme des Moines

This Tomme des Moines (which means "Monks") comes from the monks at the Pierre qui Vire (which means "Stone That Turns") monastery and dairy farm. Well, actually, it's the Abbaye Sainte-Marie-de-la-Pierre-qui-Vire, abbey meaning both abbey and monastery, a Benedictine Abbey founded in 1850 and located in a town with a saintly name, Saint-Léger-Vauban, in the Yonne department of Burgundy.

The monastery's farm has 80 cows, of the Brunes des Alpes breed, and 100 Alpines Chamoisées goats, and all their cheeses are labeled organic, with no pesticides or man-made fertilizers used.


This particular cheese is a cow's cheese, riddled with holes and with an unusually pinkish-red crust. It's got a semi-firm texture -- moist and a little chewy. And the taste is lovely -- medium-strength with lots of floral and vegetal notes.


Monks, priests, nuns: In my mind, they're all cut from the same cloth (pardon the pun).


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