I was a little surprised when I got an email from Culture magazine saying that "something perishable" was going to be shipped to me in August. I was on a tasting panel for a blue cheese from Point Reyes cheese, but they said for sure is wasn't a new version of that cheese.
Let's see, something perishable from Culture magazine. What on earth could it be? Let's see ... bananas? Parsley? Or maybe it would be cheese.
Wow, I was right. It was cheese.
The cheese came with a letter. This is part of what it said:
"... we wanted to share a sample of some VERY special cheese that our cheese maker, Kuba Hemmerling, has been working on. Enclosed you'll find a sample of our Point Reyes Tomme. This hard cheese is pasteurized, aged about 18 months and similar to Tommes you would find in France or Switzerland. The aroma is very citrusy ad the texture is crumbly with definite flavor "pops" that are a result of crystalized proteins that form throughout the long aging process."
Hello! Kris Blondin here from STINK Cheese-Meat in Tacoma, WA, back again to review another lovely cheese from Point Reyes. I was waiting with great anticipation for the next sample to be dropped at my door, and last week it landed with a bang! This time around they have sent me/us a Tomme, which is a cow’s milk cheese that has been aged for 18 months.
The notes sent with the sample described the aroma as “citrusy”, but I noted a distinct nose of browned butter and grass. Weird? Maybe, but that’s the cool thing about sending a sample of something to several people – you’re going to get different reactions.
The texture is very firm but it truly melts in your mouth. You don’t expect it to get creamy, but it does. The protein crystals are firm and frequent through out each taste. So much of your taste buds are utilized with this cheese. There’s sweet, salty, and definitely umami or savory. Thankfully, no bitterness or worse yet, sour, but this cheese does make my mouth water.
This past week I found myself making list after list with anything and everything that one might need in preparation for a hurricane. This is not something that my fellow New Yorkers and I have to typically think about. Ordinarily, I would dismiss the hype from the media, make a couple of sarcastic remarks about buying a month’s supply of bread and milk, and then go along my merry way. Given that we felt the aftershocks of an earthquake on the east coast just a few days before, and the storm of the century projections that Irene was garnering from far and wide, I decided that I probably shouldn’t tempt fate.
Lucky me received another package from Point Reyes Dairy. While this one was not part of the official tasting, it was (I say was because it it quickly vanished into my mouth) very special in the sense that it is not available to the rest of the public.
After going through the motions of emergency preparedness, for Irene, the Accidental Locavore started to focus on the important stuff: what we were going to eat if there was no power. Cooking through the contents of a full fridge and big freezer was an option, however some things that didn’t need much if any preparation would probably be a good idea. Smoking a chicken seemed like a good idea, so I butterflied one and, after brining it overnight tossed it on the smoker. Three hours later, beautiful bird and one that would keep if the power were off for a while.
Since the Locavore was near the Culinary Institute early on Thursday, I stopped by to pick up a dozen croissants from the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. That proved to be the closest to a psycho-drama as the whole hurricane experience provided. Turns out, they don’t want you stocking up, so they’re now rationing croissants…but there’s a work-around for that (comment if you want to know what it is).
A new cheese has come onto the southern scene lately that I think you need to know about. Sequatchie Cove is a farm located in Sequatchie Cove, Tennessee, which rests just above Chattanooga. Of the two cheeses they make currently, the one pictured here is Cumberland, a glorious example of a French-style Tomme.
While Cheddar is a style everyone can easily grasp, Tommes are a little more difficult to get a handle on. Generally, their texture is light to semi soft and most posses a weathered rustic rind that gives the cheese an earthy aroma and taste. Tommes are fantastic on a cheese plate, and equally good when used in the kitchen. Potatoes are a natural partner.
Good evening to everyone. I am sitting here after I brought my wedge of Point Reyes’ Newest Blue to test at my company’s picnic. Why not bring it to a place where all of my colleagues have lived around the world working in development and are experienced in eating new and unusual foods? My name is Karen and while this might be my first time writing about cheese, I can’t help think that I have been in countless situations where I am trying things first before everyone else will try them after me. As for cheese- I am just a plain “cheesie.” I call myself that because I start to sound cheesy when I describe some of the delicious stinky ones in the world that I’ve tried and I love them.
I am a gastroenterologist in Boston, and thus see food and nutrition from a few vantage points. While I am not a food professional, I have been eating and loving cheese for some time.
Having just come back from a big trip abroad (Turkey- Istanbul and the Aegean Coast! Fresh cheeses galore) and facing a daunting bit of work all while getting the cheese late, I am going to be somewhat barebones in my comments. Hope this suffices for now and is helpful to the cheese makers!
Process: received cheese July 2 in original packaging. Cheese cut in half to produce to similar halves, and each wrapped in waxed paper and then placed in sealed plastic bag. Sampled all from one half, on three occasions (July 2,3, and 4), with two other tasters. All tastes with cheese at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes.
The Cheese Stands Alone
Despite the heat, the new cheese arrived safely at my family's small artisan bakery in Old Town, Cottonwood, Arizona (near Sedona). Old Town is presently enjoying a foodie boom with several wine tasting rooms, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop, a chocolate and cheese shop and other small enterprises geared toward people who love to eat good food. Our emerging wineries here in the Verde Valley are prospering as well as winning impressive awards. Contrary to popular opinion, we do not allow firearms into our bakery nor do we witness many gun battles on Main Street. As for myself, I help my sons with the baking, make my own raw milk goat cheeses, and tend my grandchildren, my large garden, my Nubian goats, and my Jersey Giant hens... in that order.
As one of the "amateur" cheese tasters for "Birth of a Cheese," my first reaction to the unmarked package was "Wow, now this is a serious cheese!" I immediately had to open the box and try it, then and there. But, I felt like I was cheating a little bit so I nibbled the very end and put the cheese back in the icebox so I could ponder my first experience. But low and behold, I kept sneaking back- I cut off the very end, let it sit and took a taste. Well, then I HAD to try some of the middle...and then I HAD to make sure that I cut it straight and folded the foil just right. From side to side, I loved the different nuances. The bold flavor near the edges felt completely different than the really creamy middle- but each bite delicious. When I first tried the cheese, I did not have the patience to let it warm to room temp and I thought it was good. But once I let it sit and warm I realized just how great it is; thi