Hello Cheese Enthusiasts!
I must say, I was slightly disappointed with the first shipment of cheese, but I told myself that the whole point of me getting free cheese was to help improve it, not to give useless critique.
Well, after reading Anne's post on the much anticipated new cheese, I was completely disheartened. I was hoping for a better cheese the second time around. So, I put the "failure" out of mind and went on with my daily life of tiring school, even more tiring homework, and brief, yet wonderful, sleep.
After one particularly grueling day, I came home and saw that beautiful little package in my refrigerator. I had to try. I could not leave it sitting there any longer!
I believe John adequately described the appearance of the two slices, so I'll elaborate on the texture, aroma, and flavor.
USE YOUR TONGUE!
That was the message that was first given by Valerie Henbest, cheese importer (or “Fromage Air”) for Smelly Cheese, in Adelaide, South Australia. Valerie is also a passionate cheese educator and eater, originally from Normandy, France and now an Aussie-Franco mix. With a great accent, I might add, and a life pulse that’s infectious.
Last week, I attended a Bubbles & Cheese Master Class taught by my friend Natalie Fryar, who makes Jansz Australia (Tasmanian sparkling wine) and Valerie Henbest at the Smelly Cheese headquarters in Adelaide. After a tour of the aging room, 20+ of us sat down to bubbles and cheese…but the first order of business was to think about what we were tasting, an exercise that never, ever gets old.
At the end of June, I spent the best part of a week at Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire learning and making cheese, crème fraiche and yoghurts with them. In the past I’ve made lots of social visits to Herefordshire in general and Neal’s Yard Creamery in particular so it was great to be back and to catch up with Charlie, Grainne, Conan, Holly, Finn and Rags the dog.
After several delivery schedule changes we received the latest sample of the cheese tasting.
We had plans to be away for the weekend of the arrival of our latest sample so arranged for my lovely neighbor to receive the cheese box for me. She was happy to do so and brought it across to me upon my arrival back home. She had stored the cheese properly as I had asked and we had the first tasting the following day after letting it sit at room temperature for over an hour.
Appearance: The first thing we noticed was that the rind was not tacky as before and it appeared to be slightly thicker on both cheeses than the previous samples.
Both have the same coloration with -125 slightly firmer in texture.
The size seems to be appropriate for two people to sample and taste over several days to try and notice any suttle differences, but we really do not detect much difference between the two.
August 26, 2012
When we finally received the second shipment of cheese from Jasper Hill, we were a bit disapointed to discover they were not as generous as they’d been the first time. We are embarassed to admit that we didn’t notice the name “Alpha Tolman” on the stickers, so when asked “What do you think of the name?” we weren’t sure what to write. Thanks to Anne who was the first to blog about her Round 2 experience, we were informed of the name. As we wrote on the feedback form, we don’t really get from whence came this name—it doesn’t make us think of Vermont nor Alpine nor even cheese for that matter! So we’re not sure how successful it is as a name. [After looking at some of the other blog posts we understand it’s named after an obscure Vermonter with no clear connection to the cheese. Perhaps Beta Tolman would have been better for this round?]
Hey culture. My husband and I are moving halfway across the country next week. We've been packing and doing all those tedious things you need to do when you move for a while, and we were ready for a fun break. Enter round two of Jasper Hill's newest cheese, now named Alpha Tolman! We were especially excited to see our shipment arrive safe and sound after a few changes in the shipping date. I was extra especially glad to see it finally come pretty late in the afternoon – due to a misspelling of our address which confused the delivery driver.
So after allowing the two new samples to come to room temperature, we plunked down amidst the boxes and packing tape to give them a closer inspection and have a much appreciated snack (moving is hard work!)
On this second round of the Birth of a Cheese tasting for Culture Magazine and the Cellars at Jasper Hill, we continued to imagine how science played a role during the transition from the first iteration of the cheeses to the two that were currently in front of us. Nerds that we are, we analyzed the cheeses’ appearance, aroma, texture, and flavor while keeping in mind the chemistry and microbiology of these Alpine-style, washed rind cheeses.
It's been a long wait!
Chris here from Wedge in the Round. Almost four months ago, I wrote the first review of a new cheese in development by Jasper Hill. Those of us around the country participating in the 2012 Birth of a Cheese study with Culture magazine were sent three differing samples of baby cheese. We can't say that our feedback influenced the recipe, as the cheese sent for round two were made in January.
Last week, those cheeses, about 7-8 months aged, arrived.
Over the course of the last week, I had the good fortune to be trotting around Somerset in the UK. The focal point of the trip was to attend a two day conference at North Cadbury Court, home of the Montgomery family and the famed Montgomery cheddar. I will be writing about this later - suffice for now to say, it was incredible.
Since the west country is home to so many remarkable UK cheesemakers, I also arranged a couple of other visits around the conference, including a visit to Mary Holbrook's Sleight Farm, located near Bath.