In late April, I wrote a post titled Cheese Glorious Cheese about a fabulous cheese class that I participated in at the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley. I came away from that class with my very own cheese to care for, which I have done lovingly and diligently over the past month. I named my pet cheese “Pascal Tomini” as the style of cheese was a pasteurized, cow’s milk Tomini.
Tomini (sometimes called Tomino) cheese can be enjoyed fresh or aged. In Pascal’s case, we let him ripen for one month until he was surrounded in white bloom and looked like a proper cheese. Caleb and I had each taken turns flipping him over on a daily basis. At last we were ready to see what our cheese tasted like.
We were expecting guests over for dinner tonight and I thought it would be perfect to offer the cheese and some baguette slices as an appetizer. I prepared my little pet cheese on a plate and left it out for an hour until it came close to room temperature.
Once our guests arrived and had wine in hand, I brought out the cheese plate. Eager to taste my first cheese experiment, I placed a wedge of the cheese on top of a baguette piece and excitedly bit into it expecting to be wowed by the soft, creamy, stinki-ness of it all. Not so much the case! My cheese was lacking flavor, texture, and luster. Frankly, Pascal Tomini was a bore!
Our guests politely ate the cheese and commended our efforts. Caleb gobbled his wedge up, but I think he was more excited about the slice of baguette it was riding on, than anything else. Still, I was proud of myself for taking on my first cheese and caring for it for over a month until it was ready to be eaten. Next go-around, I would salt it more and let it ripen longer, but that’s why we throw out the first pancake, no?
What came of this exercise is that I’m no longer intimidated by cheese-making and am eager to keep at it. I look forward to involving the kids more and to experimenting with mozzarella, ricotta, and cheeses that need to ripen over time. For such a huge lover of ‘all things cheese’, it was exciting to finally make my own and really get my hands into it. To a noble first effort!