Feb 10

Tomme de Fleurette, Nifelchas (cheesy lovers #66 & #67), with a small digression on bacteria

FT + Pumpkin Publog//2 comments • 710 views

Tomme de Fleurette

A soft unpasturised cow’s cheese, made in Switzerland and bought from KäseSwiss.

A round of soft white cheese, smattered with a bright white bloom, and striped with little ridges from where it’s been sitting on racks to mature. Inside it’s soft and pliable, the colour of cream.

This cheese is fantastically milky, and melts away to in my mouth. The thin delicate rind has a slightly crumbly texture, and tastes of heather, flowers and astringent herbs. This complements the utter drippiness of the inside of this cheese, which is smooth, creamy, gently sweet and nutty, and has just a hint of cocoa to it.


A cow’s milk cheese, also from Switzerland, and bought from KäseSwiss.

This wedge of cheese has a rough rich orange rind, and inside the paste’s a soft yellow, smooth and opaque, and sprinkled with little holes.

The holes (or eyes, as they are properly known) in Swiss cheese are caused by a wonderful array of bacterial action. In the first stage, little bacterias scoff up the lactose, and produce lactic acid. This is pretty standard cheese-making work; we should be thanking the lactose-eating habits of Lactobacillus and Streptococcus just about every time we pop something cheesy in our mouths. In holey cheeses, though, there’s another bacteria hanging about. Propionibacterium freudenreichii shermanii devours the lactic acid, produces other propionic and acetic acids – these give the cheese its distinctive buttery sweet nutty taste – and belches out clouds of C02. It’s the pockets of this that make those iconic eyes in the cheese.

You’ll almost certainly have encountered a sibling of  P.shermaniiP.acnes lives happily and benignly on human skin, until it finds a greasy blocked pore. Hurrah! it says, Greasy Blocked Pore! and sets itself up a spotty new home.

But back to the cheese. This particular product of bacteria and milk has a rich tangy flavour, which develops as it melts. It’s salty and bright, buttery and rich, with a marmitey umami beefiness. It has a smooth creamy texture, a plummy fruitiness, and the sweet mellowness of hazelnuts and yeast. The rind is chewy and crumbly, and has just a very subtle hint of sockishness.

I foist a lump on Lars, and he says;

Would not kill any animal. Might leave them lying on their backs in a state of happy disfunction.


  1. 1
    Rachael Sills on 10 Dec 2010 #

    Nice piece on our Tomme Fleurette and Nidelchas (note spelling). Thanks very much! It’s always great for us to hear a description of our cheeses from another person.
    Just a note – or is it a plug! This Wednesday the 15th of December is KaseSwiss’ Evening of Cheese at Borough Market. 4 to 8pm. All the cheesemongers of Borough Market are coming together to talk about, sample, and sell their wares.
    Rachael Sills, KaseSwiss

  2. 2
    Rachael Sills on 10 Dec 2010 #

    There will be hot cider at the Evening of Cheese also. We will need something to keep out the cold !

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