Tome (Laura Chenel)
Now located in the state-of-the-art new creamery in Sonoma wine country, Laura Chenel's Chèvre has been in operation since the late 1970’s. Laura Chenel was one of a small group of women cheesemakers to spearhead the production of goat's milk cheeses in the United States. Having always been passionate about goats, Laura started her dairy in a former snail-processing plant in Santa Rosa. In 2006 she sold the company to French family cheese producers, Laiteries H. Triballat, who continue the tradition of Laura Chenel’s cheesemaking of both fresh and aged cheese. Milk for production comes from 16 different goat dairies, thirteen of which are in California and three in Nevada. High quality milk is crucial to excellent cheese production and the company has very close relationships with their producers to ensure excellent animal health, nutrition and general well being. Having decided to make a Tome style cheese (Tome literally translates to “wheel” in French), Laura sought the advice of neighbor Ignacio “Ig” Vella, a second generation cheesemaker whose family created the iconic “American Original” Dry Jack. Laura was looking to produce a cheese similar in style and texture to Dry Jack, with its nutty aroma and sweet caramel finish and with Ig’s help, she created just that. It is a recipe that continues today with the cheese made in exactly the same way. Made in wheels weighing between 3-4 lbs, the Tome has rounded sides and a distinctive indentation on the underside where the cheesecloth is brought tightly up and tied into a knot before being pressed. After production, wheels are aged for a minimum of six months before release. The texture of Tome is firm, smooth and dense while simultanously being slightly crumbly in the mouth. There is no rind and the interior paste is the color of dark ivory.
Flavors are deliciously savory, with distinctive “hits” of cooked cream finishing with perfectly balanced notes of salt and sweet.
Pair with a California Pinot Noir from Carneros, where the cheese is made.