Twig Farm Goat Tomme
August 29, 2006
From Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont, comes this lovely little drum of deliciousness. Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman have 20 acres and a small herd of goats: 18 milking does, a handful of kids, a buck named Bogart and his pal Ernie (another goat whose job is entertaining Bogart). Most of the goats are Alpines, but there is also a Nubian and a few Saanens.
Their land – covered by rocky ledges, scrabbly trees and brambly bushes with patches of soft grass in between – is an ideal habitat for goats, which are by nature browsers rather than grazers. They nibble on grass but prefer the leaves and vegetation that they cull from the shrubs and trees. A browsing diet such as this means that the goats give less milk than those fed on hay, silage and manufactured goat feed, but their milk is so much more flavorful and nuanced – it truly reflects their terroir. Michael and Emily breed their goats in the fall for springtime kids, so there’s milk for making cheese from late spring to midwinter.
Modeled on a Provençal Tomme de Chevre, the Goat Tomme is a raw milk cheese with nutty brown, slightly felt-like rind. It’s aged about 85 days and develops a paste that’s firm and white with an earthy, grassy flavor. It’s simply amazingly good. Emily suggests pairing it with cherry jam, apples, ripe tomatoes, or maybe in a salad with beets and greens, and Michael likes to have it with a pale ale or cider. I like it any way I can convey it to my mouth…