May 18, 2015

Your Shaved Uncle: Tome de Bufflonne


If your uncle shaves your uncle, your uncle will be shaved. It's perfectly logical, really, but sounds like this in French: "Si ton ton-ton tond ton ton-ton, ton ton-ton sera tondu." Using the syllable "ton" (but spelled "tond" once) ten times in a row in a way that is grammatically correct is more impressive than anything we can do in English, as far as I know.

Although I do enjoy rattling off this English-language equivalent: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. If you replace the animal name with "bison", and know that "to buffalo" somebody means to "bully" them, this sentence actually has meaning and can be understood as Buffalo bison (i.e. bison from Buffalo) that (other) Buffalo bison bully in turn bully Buffalo bison. It's a tale of revenge, basically.

In the photo above, Anthony is shaving his bald brother, which means that for the child of one of their other brothers, he is, literally a ton-ton qui tond un ton-ton.

Besides uncles shaving uncles, there's also a liver seller who's famous for showing off French homonyms (the thorn in the side of every French-language student):

"Il était une fois,                         There once was
une marchande de foie,               a liver merchant
qui vendait du foie,                     who sold liver
dans la ville de Foix.                   in the city of Foix.
Elle se dit ,"Ma foi,                    She said to herself, "My Lord,
c'est la première fois                   this is the first time
et la dernière fois,                       and the last time
que je vends du foie,                   that I sell liver
dans la ville de Foix."                 in the city of Foix."

THE CHEESE: Tome de Bufflonne

Tome de Bufflonne (incorrectly written with two Ms and one F as "Tomme de Buflonne" by my spelling-challenged local cheese shop) is an honest to goodness buffalo's milk cheese, made in southern France, at the Buffa'LaubenQ farm (and, no, I don't have my fingers on the wrong keys: Buffa'LaubenQ).

It comes from Auvergne, made with raw milk of the "bufflonne", the water buffalo and the same animal that gives us Italian Mozzarella di Bufala, or Buffalo Mozzerella. It's a farmhouse cheese, made in only farm in France, and aged between 1-3 months.

Tome de Bufflonne has a mild blue streak in it, but it's not a blue cheese per se. Rather, it's a hard cheese with a crust that looks like weathered stone. Inside, it's much more akin, in texture, to a hard sheep cheese than anything else -- dry and crumbly. The smell is strong, and a bit gamy, and the cheese has a slight black pepper kick, with the faint hint of bell peppers, followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste.


If you want to chase the taste of the cheese with something sweeter, the farm also takes the buffalo milk and makes confiture de lait -- basically the French version of a caramel-like dulce de leche.


A buffalo cheese for a story about buffalo who buffalo buffalo and ton-ton who tond ton ton-ton. It all makes perfect sense, as long as you can understand it.


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