Thursday March 5th 2015
Tonight we finally tasted our first cheese, an Alpine style Tomme. We’ll call it Tomme de Colrain! All of the cheeses that we are making are hard cheese that are aged for 2 to 12 months. That means that feedback is delayed. We made out first cheese on January 1, but up until tonight we had no idea how we were actually doing. They looked great in the cheese cave, the affinage finishing process seemed to be going well. But taste was the critical piece of data that was missing, and it was silently nagging away at us in the background in our minds. So tonight was a mini milestone night and we were really excited (and a bit nervous because hey, what if we were making junk? That would be depressing!) to have our first taste.
I had made a fresh loaf of fermented sourdough bread for the occasion. We were also sampling another “first”. Haynes has been making cured meats and at the same time we were about to sample his first meat, a Bresaolla, an air dried and salted beef. Paul, Haynes, Monique and I cut into the meat and wheel of cheese, and……both were delicious! The Bresaolla was dark red in color, very tender with a sweet delicate flavor. The Tomme cheese was semi firm with a very nice texture and color. The flavor was very good, a little sour. Although we still want to tweak it a bit, Haynes and I are very happy with our first cheese and looking forward to trying some variations on this.
So far we have made 11 cheeses. Haynes now has his cheese cave that is built in to the earth on the north side of his basement up and running with temperature and humidity control. We have migrated all the wheels of cheese out of the converted wine fridge cheese cave into the big cheese cave. Currently we have ripening 8 different cheese: tomme, an ale washed cheddar, Gouda infused with roasted cumin, manchego infused with smoked paprika, parmesan, trappist and reblochon.