Cheese, Semi-soft / Semi-firm cheese

Time For Point Reyes Toma

Toma is Italian for cheese made on a farm that produces the milk…Exactly how Point Reyes produces their only two cheeses.  Toma, introduced last year, is the second cheese in this wonderful line.  It is intended as an unpretentious table cheese for people who don’t favor blues.

Holstein cows presently grazing on the rich, certified organic pastures that grow on the uncultivated sweeps of land overlooking the rolling waves of Tomales Bay, California.  One hundred years ago however,  the terroir was mountainous and the country was Italy, where the Giacomini family first began production of their superior farmstead dairy products.

In 1959, creator, Bob Giacomini was simply providing milk for consumption at his dairy farm.  In 2000, The Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company was founded and Point Reyes Original Blue was born.  Now, with the commercial success of their blue…enter phase two.

Point Reyes new cheesemaker, Kuba Hemmerling, utilizes round-edged Gouda style molds for the cheese and a Gouda technique known as curd washing.  This technique involves draining whey from the fresh curds and replacing it with fresh water, which limits the acid development, yielding a sweeter cheese.  Toma is a pasteurized, semi-firm, truly unique, farmstead cheese that has been aged for a minimum of ninety days.

This cheese has a creamy texture, buttery flavor and a subtle grassy and tangy finish…A great snacking and melting cheese, complimentary to any cheese plate.  I sipped my glass of Langtry Winery’s Lake County Chardonnay and devoured a plate of macaroni and cheese that I kicked up a notch incorporating Toma using the recipe below.  What a scrumptious and satisfying treat! In select Bottle King Stores now.

Recipe for Point Reyes Mac and Cheese (cooking class at The Fork):

(Serves 6-8)

2 cups whole milk

1 bay leaf

1 medium shallot

1 clove

5 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1 pound cavatappi or elbow past- cooked al dente and cooled

1 cup Point Reyes Toma cheese, grated

1 cup fontina cheese, grated

Panko break crumbs

1.      Cook the pasta and set aside

2.      Put a pot on medium heat and melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour gradually to make a roux.  Continue stirring until flour/butter mixture is golden brown.

3.      Add the milk, bay leaf, clove and shallot. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes-stirring often

4.      Strain the sauce to remove the bay leaf, clove and shallot

5.      While the sauce is still hot add both the Toma and Fontina cheeses- stir until cheese melts.

6.      Add cooked pasta. Stir until pasta is well coated in sauce. Place mixture in 8×8 pan to create a 2” deep cake of pasta and cheese

7.      Refrigerate until the pasta mixture is firm.

8.      Remove from the fridge and cut in to 2″ x 2″ squares

9.      Coat the top and bottom of each square with Panko breadcrumbs and set aside.

10.     Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter in a nonstick pan. Add the pasta/cheese squares, cook on medium heat until browned and crispy on both sides.

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