Toma (Point Reyes)
Located in in Marin County, just one hour north of San Francisco, California, the Giacomini family are third generation dairy farmers and have had a presence in Point Reyes area for many decades. A descendant of Italian mountain dairy producers, Bob Giacomini began milking cows on his Point Reyes dairy in 1959. Over the years, Bob and his wife Dean, together with their four daughters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, developed a shared vision of producing an all-natural farmstead cheese. This dream was realized in August, 2000, when they founded Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company and produced the first vat of their now famous Original Blue.
Milk comes from the Giacomini's own closed herd of Holstein cows that graze organically certified pastures overlooking Tomales Bay. Following on the heels of their success with the Original Blue, the Giacomini family decided to create their version of a classic Italian cow’s milk table cheese.
The arrival of a new cheesemaker, Kuba Hemmerling, in 2009 allowed the business to expand its cheesemaking operation and since Hemmerling had some experience making hard cheeses in the Gouda style, this seemed a natural progression.
The result is Toma. Milk for production of Toma is pasteurized, and after the curd is formed and cut, Hemmerling uses a traditional gouda technique of washing the curds with water which slows down the acidification process. The curds are then drained, placed into gouda-shaped cheese molds and pressed before being unmolded and allowed to sit in a brine solution for two days. Brining helps to harden the exterior and promote the development of a rind.
With each wheel weighing in at approximately 10lb, Toma is a firm cheese with rich, buttery and grassy flavors and a slightly tangy finish. Toma is an ideal cheese for melting in pastas and risottos or on top of soups, grilled vegetables and meats.
According to Jill Giacomini Basch, a near perfect pairing for Toma is Hop Stoopid Ale, a highly hopped brew from Lagunitas Brewing Co.