A French term (presumably from the Greek ) for a section, or part of the whole. Throughout the ages of cheese terminology, the term has evolved to describe various cheeses: small cheeses made from partial milkings, those produced from small-yield winter milkings, and cheeses made from the milk of more than one herdin general, small cheeses produced when there wasn't enough milk to make large ones. Today the words tomme and tome typically refer to a range of small- to medium-size cheeses with a rounded wheel shape. Such cheeses can be made from a single milk (cow's, goat's or sheep's) or a mixture of milks. The smallest version is a tommette, which typically weighs under a pound. In Italy such cheeses are called toma. See also cheese.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.