Old Grey Mare is a semi-hard, aged whole, cows’ milk cheese made in the style of the Italian Toma; one of the most famous Italian cheeses. Its name is derived from the process of cheese making. ‘Toma’ actually means ‘cheese made by the farmer’ It is produced primarily in Aosta Valleys and Piedmont regions of Northern Italy. Closely related to the French tomme, Toma comes in variety of types. Every type is usually named after the region and the place where it is made. Traditionally, the cheese should be aged for at least three months and possess a soft, elastic consistency and a light yellow, mold-marked crust. The color of the interior is typically pale yellow to ivory and contains tiny holes as a result of the fermentation process. The taste is fairly salty becoming ‘piccante’ as the months pass. Additionally, Tumino Cheese Company makes Old Grey Mare using Jersey cow milk. The cheese resulting from the higher fat, higher protein milk has a creamy interior and buttery flavor somewhat like a firm brie.
History: Toma dates back to Roman times, but did not become identified by its name until the 11th century. The name appears to have come from the old French word “tumer,” meaning to fall or to turn. Some sources indicate that Toma means the cheese is a product of several herds from the same region and implies it is made by a cheese making specialist rather than a farmer with a surplus of milk who might not be adept at cheese making. Toma is a perfect table cheese but can also be used for cooking.
Old Grey Mare is aged from 30 to 90 days, depending on the cultures used. The younger cheese will be mild and creamy, it grows in piquancy as it ages. This cheese may be purchased as a whole wheel, weighing 3 to 4 lbs. or as a part wheel wedge. To order this cheese go to the Old Grey Mare or Old Grey Mare-Jersey Page in the Shop
The history behind the Old Grey Mare name on Tumino Cheese Company’s Toma recalls the Busy Bee Ferry operated by Captain James Quick on Cayuga Lake. One of the more noted ferries between King Ferry Station on the east to Kidder’s Landing on the west, Quick provided passage for traffic across the lake during the late 1800’s into the 1900’s. We have named this cheese in honor of all the horses, unnamed in historical records, who supplied power to the paddle-wheel via treadmill when wind failed. In homage to this reliability and consistency, Old Grey Mare is a quiet, hard-working, versatile cheese that is delicious on a cheese plate or as an ingredient in cooked dishes. This Toma’s flavor is nicely complimented by figs, honey, toasted walnuts for a sophisticated dessert. Its buttery and, with age, increasingly complex flavor pairs well with hoppy beers, Chianti, and single malt Scotches.