Razzle’s Choice 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 tome, Toma comes in variety of types. Every type is usually named after the region and the place where it is made. Depending on the milk fat and culture used, toma is aged 30 to 90 days. The color of the interior is typically pale yellow to ivory; for Razzle’s Choice we added spicy red pepper flakes lending a saffron hue to the spicy cheese. The taste is fairly salty becoming ‘piccante’ as the months pass. The mild, buttery flavor of Toma serves as a foil for the addition of spices and herbs.
- Color: straw yellow, with red pepper flecks
- Flavor: Spicy from the pepperoncini with buttery, creamy, tangy nots from the cheese
- Rind: Natural, mold present from aging, trim
- Consistency: Creamy, semi-hard
- Ingredients: Pasteurized whole cows’ milk, red pepper flakes, cultures, rennet, salt
- Allergens: Cows’ milk
- Shelf Life: Properly wrapped, cheese will keep a long time; consume within a month for best flavor
- Directions: Keep refrigerated.
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. The addition of red pepper flakes is common in the southern parts of Italy–they like their foods spicy hot!
Razzle’s Choice is aged from 30 days to 300. The younger cheese will be mild and creamy, with considerable, sharp heat from the chili. As the cheese grows in piquancy, the peppers temper in heat. This cheese may be purchased as a whole wheel, weighing 3 to 4 lbs. or as a part-wheel wedge. To purchase Razzle’s Choice go to Buy Cheese.
Razzle’s Choice is named for a barn cat at the Cornell University Ruminant Center where Sue (and her husband, Bill) herd cats and some cows. Sue has a thing for cats, so does Bill. Razzle was a slightly disreputable, mostly wild, half-grown kitten when Bill and Sue took on the project of taming him. Every day, when Bill ate his lunch, he would set aside cheese from his sandwich to lure Razzle in. Perseverance (and cheese) did the trick. After a long day of cheese making followed by a hastily contrived group dinner the suggestion that Razzle would definitely eat this cheese was decreed. Razzle’s Choice will certainly get your attention. It is not for the meek! Delicious on its own, it adds heat when cooked into dishes. Pair this cheese with beer.