I love cheese! I could eat it anytime of day or night as a snack. I could eat it both before or after dinner. There are so many textures and flavors to discover when trying new cheeses. I recently had the pleasure of eating Toma Primavera, a washed rind cheese produced by Cherry Grove Farm in Lawerenceville New Jersey.
Washed rind cheeses get scheduled baths in a brine to help create rind growth and develop flavor within the cheese. The brine recipe changes from producer to producer. Different regions have various styles of brine. Producers can use wine, beer, cider, water, spirits, or anything with flavor. When a cheese maker choses a style to produce he or she uses those guidelines to effect the desired outcome. Flavors of cheeses are affected by the type of animal chosen to milk, feed of the animal, terroir or climate, and soil of the animals habitat.
Toma Primavera’s recipe comes from the Piedmont region of the Italian alps. It is produced from raw cows milk from the Jersey cow. The Jersey cow were originally from England and are renowned for their high butter fat content that their milk contains. Cherry Grove farms pasture feeds their cows whenever weather permits and supplements their feed with hay and alfalfa when necessary. This cheese is aged 3-6 months. By law all raw milk cheeses have to be aged at least 60 days.
When tasting this firm cheese you are instantly transported to the sunny fields were the animals graze. Its has a sweet slightly grassy nuanced flavor that is only enhanced upon melting. Its appearance has a tan hue and beautiful little nooks running throughout the cheese.
When I first taste a cheese I like it to be by itself and at room temperature. This helps me to get to know the cheese. Then I like to think about what I may cook or pair with the cheese. Because of the moisture content, this cheese has excellent melting properties. My mind instantly moved to the soul satisfying grilled cheese. I grated the cheese,used Rye Bread, and herbed compound butter to create a little piece of heaven on earth. I think this cheese would be great with a Belgian-style Saison or a Weizenbock Beer.
This cheese is currently offered at Nage restaurant on our cheese board and can be purchased online or at different PA and NJ farmers markets. Eat and enjoy!