The world’s longest lasting cheese course (lucky us!) continues with a Tumelo Tomme Goat’s Milk cheese (also known as Tumelo Classico) from Juniper Grove Farm in Redmond, Oregon. This is a lovely cheese, with a firmer texture than you might ordinarily find in a goat cheese, which results in something like a goat gouda. It’s a solid, pleasing cheese, with a lot of body in the mouth.
The goat aspect takes a moment to hit you and, when it does, it is equally pleasant and on the mild side. (The Haystack Mountain Queso de Mano, which was on the same plate, is bolder.) There are nutty and sweet, even caramel-like notes, along with an earthy, slightly mushroom-y taste.
Redmond Grove Farm’s owner/cheesemaker, Pierre Kolisch, studied cheesemaking in Normandy with master cheesemaker Francois Durand, and cites European “tomme” cheeses as an influence. (“Tomme” loosely means small cheese from partial milkings, with the “tomme” and “toma” names in particular use in the French and Italian Alps.)
Tumalo is a raw-milk cheese, made from milk from Redmond Grove’s herd of goats, which feed on alfalfa year-round on beautiful land east of Oregon’s Cascade Mountain range. (Indeed, Tumalo bears the name of a local village.) Kolisch employs traditional farmstead methods in his cheesemaking, such as separating curds from whey, and then brining, stacking and hand-turning the washed-rind cheese, as it ages on pine planks in a dry, cool environment for three months.
The result is this nice, lovingly made goat cheese.
The Tomalo Tomme works well with crackers, grapes, apricots, or a fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Merlot.
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman