Cheese from Vercelli, Italy
Toma is one of the classic cheeses of Piedmonte in Northern Italy. I had some beautiful examples of this cheese when The Cheese Impresario visited the Vercelli region in this friendly, beautiful and off the beaten track area.
Vercelli is also known for its rice in many forms including the famous Risotto. For a delicious easy meal, stir up some Risotto with some Toma cheese and pair it with Nipozzano.
Toma is a semi-hard mountain cheese made from cow? milk. Toma Piemontese was known as early as the Roman times is typical of Piedmont? traditional cheeses.
Toma ripens from the outside in or from the rind into the paste of the cheese just like Brie. The rind can go from pale yellowish to quite rustic brown, sometimes a bit grayish and bark like. The paste is pale to golden yellow and sometimes becomes brown closer to the rind. The taste is somewhat sweet but with an interesting gentle bite that works well with Nipozzano. Some Tomas taste like flowers depending on the time of year and location the milk came from and some can be quite intensely fragrant.
I had the good fortune to visit a cheesemaker in Vercelli and I felt as if I was on a National Geographic adventure. We drove from the famous rice fields glistening in the sun way way way up to next the Alps where a memorable cheese experience was waiting for me.
Bruno Giovannacci at his small mountain village creamery, La Giunc?atteria Di Roj was waiting to fill me up with his Toma cheese that almost made me faint with extreme happiness when I had the pleasure of sharing some with him.
Bruno is an artist who works in two art forms – cheese and music. He has seventeen guitars and plays everyday in between making artisanal cheese from 4 AM every day and being in love with is fianc?hen time for playing. Love may be Bruno? third art form, he is a total romantic and this is a quality you can definitely taste in his cheese.