Photo by Tomas Fano, CC BY 2.0 Chic and synonymous with luxurious yachts and glamorous…
Le Fromagier Extraordinaire – Bagneres de Bigorre, France
On Saturday morning all the thin, winding streets of this little town filled with tables of garden vegetables, apple cider, fresh fish, deep red horse meat, piles of cheeses, home-made breads, flowers and clothes. The streets are packed and the amount of chatting going on was nothing short of amazing.
I asked around for the best cheese in France and was pointed to the gentleman fromagier. I’m not sure if he had the best cheeses but he patiently walked me through a taste test of something like 5 million cheeses (must have been) and described to me which bread I should get with each cheese.
My favorite was the Tomme des Pyrénées:
A pressed cheese, nowadays made equally from raw or pasteurized cows’ milk. Curdled milk is tossed, cut and put in large moulds. It is drained for 24 hours, then salted and aged in cool, humid cellars, where it is turned by hand every day. An aging period of 21 days minimum is permitted for the black-crusted tomme and 45 days minimum for the gold-covered version. The covering is a seal of paraffin wax. Tomme des Pyrenees is sold in various sizes of cylindrical shape with rounded edges. The small tomme is between 450 g and 1.5 kg (corresponding to the old 1 to 3 livres (pounds) measures) up to 5.5 kg (12 lb). The texture is supple and the taste is creamy and only slightly salty. The colour is normally ivory white, varying to pale yellows. Tomme des Pyrenees is made and aged entirely within the same place as the milk is produced, by local business’ workshops.
So then, my little friend Ellen (age 10) and I headed over to the bread guy, stopped by the Belgian beer guy for a few Trappist brews on the way…and the apple cider lady…and the paella guy…..and the coffee place….and the guy with the sausages…got the bread and went back for another chunk of cheese.
We were stuffed by 9am and I, for one, needed another coffee.
And a nap in the park of Bagneres-de-Bigorre.