During the second week of American Cheese Month, we’re tipping our hat to the goat ladies – the pioneers of goat-cheese making whose names are whispered in reverent tones among the cheese community. Names like Keehn, Schad and Fondiller – by which we mean Laini Fondilier of Lazy Lady Farm in Vermont. Colleen was lucky enough to snare a sample of Fondiller’s cheekily named Barick Obama almost five years on the eve of the president’s inauguration, but I hadn’t been able to locate any in my neck of the woods until last month, when the Cheese Shop at France 44 sold me its last tiny wedge of Tomme Delay. Yes, Fondiller obviously loves political puns, and though my views run about 180 degrees from this cheese’s namesake, I’d still vote for it in a cheese election.
A raw-milk, natural-rind hunk of a cheese, Tomme Delay starts off with a salty kick – it may be too strong for some, but I love salt almost as much as I love sugar, so it works for me. Later, the cheese’s milkiness cuts through the palate, followed by a few notes of slight stony must. I didn’t detect any tell-tale barnyard flavor, which is so common with goat-milk cheeses, in my Tomme Delay, but it has a sense of cragginess that distinguishes it from your typical clean chevre.
Though Tomme Delay definitely is partisan by name, its nature covers both sides of the aisle – the wine aisle, that is. Equally at home with a dry white or light- to medium-bodied red, the cheese acts as a solid cheeseboard anchor or a light snacker. Though these days, perhaps its sister cheese, Fil-A-Buster, is a more appropriate choice.