Cheese tasting at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese
This is Part 4 of a multi-article series about a recent visit to Point Reyes Cheese Company in Point Reyes, California.
Karen, one of the Giacomini sisters, had taken out cheese to taste about an hour prior, so it was at room temperature by the time we returned from our tour. In addition to the Original Blue, New Blue, and Toma, she had laid out pecans, apricots, and Rustic Bakery crackers. And she had mason jar glasses! So cute! I love mason jars, but then again, who doesn’t?
We began with the Toma, their mildest cheese. It had a creamy, buttery aroma, and a straw yellow paste, along with a thin rind. You could say it is somewhere between a semi-soft and semi-hard cheese. The flavor was quite mild, but with a grassy start and slightly tangy finish. The mouthfeel was pretty creamy, but slightly springy. Toma has turned into a popular cooking cheese at Pt. Reyes’ classes because it maintains its flavor even after cooking. Jill said that during peach season, she enjoys grilling peaches, then topping them with grated or sliced Toma and marcona almonds. Grab some craft beer, and you’re all set.
I have been waiting to taste the company’s New Blue, and here was my chance! It looks so different from the Original Blue. Where the Original is wrapped in foil, the New has a natural rind. Where the Original’s paste is clean white with bright blue shot through, the New’s paste has all sorts of variations of dusty yellow with greenish penicillin. I must have forgotten to sniff it, because all I can remember next is tasting its curious caramel or maple syrupy sweetness, which then gave way to a cheddary umami and crystal crunch. What an extraordinarily complex cheese! This is the kind of cheese I would imagine deserves its own silver tray, smoking jacket and glass of port. Even Gavin, who doesn’t usually take big samples of cheese, helped himself to another piece. Luckily for those outside of Northern California, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese hopes to get this into nationwide distribution in the last quarter of 2012.
The Original Blue was last. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tasted this cheese, but it’s always better when you’re sitting in Point Reyes’ Farmstead Cheese’s own kitchen! I recognized that clean, fresh smell, creamy texture, and creamy, milky taste. If you are going to pair this one with a wine, a port, Sauternes, or other sweet wine would do nicely, as would a meaty cabernet sauvignon.
On that tasty note, our visit was over. Thank you so much to Bob, Jill, Karen, and Lynn for showing us around your beautiful property. And thanks to the cows for being themselves!