The Story of Toma

The Story of Toma

A traditional “village cheese” finds its own flavor in the exquisite terroir of Point Reyes.

 

The tale of Toma is about more than just cheese. Roughly translated to “wheel of cheese made by the farmer herself” in Italian, Toma represents, to us, a sense of community and family heritage. It’s about honoring, preserving and living off the land. Toma is as much an approach to cheese and cheesemaking as it is a type or variety. Part young Gouda. Part traditional Havarti. Part philosophy and core value. And yet totally unique and completely delicious.

 

The origins of Toma are hard to trace. Suffice to say, versions have been made throughout Europe for generations. The generic name is often referred to as "Village Cheese" because while every small town has its own interpretation, the finished style always reflects the unique flavors of the local milk and the sense of place from where it is made. Point Reyes Toma, a true American original recipe, simply can't be duplicated anywhere else. It's a cheese that is the result of our incredible climate, the pastures our cows roam and the quality milk used in every handcrafted batch.

 

In creating Toma (the second cheese, after Original Blue, that we brought to market) our team was looking for something with a complex, sophisticated taste, but in a more approachable style. An artisan cheese for those seeking something subtler than the bold flavors of blue. A cheese for snacking on all day or incorporating into recipes at breakfast, lunch or dinner. The tall order was accepted with enthusiasm, “For a cheesemaker, it’s like your playground.” That’s how Head Cheesemaker Kuba Hemmerling describes the palette of farm fresh flavors and aging options at his disposal.

 

True to the original idea behind Toma, Kuba set out to create a cheese like no other, one that would successfully capture the nuanced flavors of West Marin. His process includes pasteurizng the very freshest whole milk, brining the wheels immediately out of the forms and aging the waxed wheels for 90 days. On the softer side for a table cheese, you may detect just a hint of pineapple on the nose. But the intoxicating aroma and addictive flavor is full of fresh, rich creamery butter, purposefully balanced by a slightly herbaceous, grassy tang finish.

 

To fully appreciate Toma, however, you have to think about the role cheese plays in your home. Point Reyes Toma is truly an any time, any table cheese. For snacking, topping and melting into (and on to) pretty much anything, its versatility is legendary. “A workhorse”, Kuba calls it. "In fact, our Toma makes so many dishes so much better that if I could only (heaven forbid) have one cheese, this would be the one."

 

But don’t take our word for it. The Fork's Executive Chef, Jennifer Luttrell would be the first to tell you about her favorite serving suggestions. “Wow, there are so many ways to enjoy Toma,” she says. “But you probably have to start with just having it on hand to make the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich ever. It’s also great melted into eggs, on avocado toast, in mac-n-cheese, and shaved over roasted peaches, drizzled with honey. YUM.” She, of course, could go on. (You can find a long list of ideas in our Recipes section.)

 

The full story of Point Reyes Toma, however, is far from written. Here’s a bit of news for you, our faithful friends of the farm that want the inside scoop. We’ve recently created three distinctly different new flavored versions. This is a big step for us purists, and we’re pretty excited about what’s coming in the next few months. Stay tuned for the big announcement this Fall but rest assured, each recipe respects the classic Point Reyes Toma at its core, in order to bring the best flavors of our farm to your table. In this case, with just a little added attitude.

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