What is Prairie Tomme? A Taste of the Alpine in America’s Heartland

What is Prairie Tomme? A Taste of the Alpine in America's Heartland - Cheese Origin

Nestled in the heartland of America, there’s a cheese that captures the spirit of the Alpine pastures and the robust flavors of the Midwest – Prairie Tomme. This artisanal delight offers a culinary journey from the sprawling plains to the towering mountain ranges, all within a single bite.

The creation of Green Dirt Farm in Weston, Missouri, Prairie Tomme is a testament to the rich, fertile soil and the pastoral elegance of America’s heartland. This semi-hard cheese, with its earthy undertones and a hint of nuttiness, is an homage to the traditional Tomme cheeses of the French and Swiss Alps, but with a unique American twist.

Quick Facts About Prairie Tomme

Quick FactsDetails
Type of CheeseSemi-hard Sheep’s Milk Cheese
OriginUnited States, specifically Missouri
Made ByGreen Dirt Farm
TasteNutty, Earthy, and Slightly Tangy
TextureDense and Smooth
ColorNatural White to Pale Yellow
RindNatural and Edible
AgeAged for at least 6 months
PairingsPairs well with Red Wine, Figs, Almonds, and Honey
Serving SuggestionsGreat on a cheese board or melted in dishes
AwardsWinner of the 2015 Good Food Award

What is Prairie Tomme?

What is Prairie Tomme?

Prairie Tomme is a true testament to American artisanal craftmanship in the world of cheese. It’s a hard sheep’s milk cheese inspired by the Alpine-style cheeses like Gruyère and Gouda. Originating from the heart of Missouri at Green Dirt Farm, this cheese is a delight for the senses.

One of the remarkable things about Prairie Tomme is its unique flavor profile. The cheese possesses a buttery, nutty flavor that is both delicious and distinctive. It’s not just the taste that captivates cheese lovers; the aroma is earthy, reminiscent of the prairies where the sheep graze.

The texture of Prairie Tomme is another aspect that sets it apart. It has a smooth, firm texture that is both supple and creamy. It’s aged for a minimum of four months, which allows it to develop this unique texture and deepen its flavors.

Prairie Tomme also stands out in its presentation. It’s a rustic, mountain-style cheese that can be compared to Paski Sir or Manchego cheese. The curd is cut very small and slowly, resulting in a cheese that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

Moreover, Prairie Tomme is a seasonal cheese, making it a special treat to look forward to. The natural rind of this cheese is edible, adding another layer of texture and flavor to enjoy.

In the world of artisanal cheese, Prairie Tomme is a stand-out. Its unique qualities make it a must-try for any cheese connoisseur. Whether you’re enjoying it on a cheese board or using it to elevate your culinary creations, Prairie Tomme is sure to leave a lasting impression.

What Does Prairie Tomme Taste Like?

Prairie Tomme is a hard sheep’s milk cheese that is known for its unique and complex flavor profile. After being washed with brine and aged for at least four months, it develops a nutty and earthy taste. Its flavor is buttery and nutty, which becomes more pronounced as the cheese matures.

The taste of Tomme-style cheeses like Prairie Tomme can vary greatly, with some notes ranging from rich hazelnut to mildly grassy. Some even describe its flavor as sweet and buttery with a pleasantly musty hint, similar to a wild mushroom freshly picked off the forest floor.

In addition, Prairie Tomme stands out for its smooth, firm texture. Its curd is cut very small and slowly, resulting in a rustic, mountain-style hard sheep cheese that is similar to Paski Sir or Manchego cheese.

Prairie Tomme Tasting Notes

  • Nutty Complexity: A distinct, earthy undertone that intrigues the palate.
  • Age-Deepened Flavor: A rich taste that intensifies as the cheese matures.
  • Buttery Distinctiveness: A satisfying, buttery flavor that sets it apart.
  • Grassy Notes: Mildly grassy hints add an extra layer of complexity.
  • Smooth Texture: Firm yet supple texture that complements its overall flavor profile.
  • Sweetness: Subtle hints of sweetness that balance its robust nuttiness.
  • Musty Hint: Pleasant musty nuances, reminiscent of wild mushrooms.
  • Edible Rind: The natural, edible rind contributes to the overall flavor and texture.

7 Cheeses that are Similar to Prairie Tomme

CheeseFlavor ProfileTextureBest Used In
Tomme de SavoieMild, nutty flavor with earthy notes.Semi-firm, supple texture.Great in sandwiches, cheese platters, or melted on top of dishes.
GruyereSweet yet slightly salty, with earthy and nutty notes.Firm, dense texture.Perfect for fondues, gratins, and soups. Also great on cheese boards.
ComteSweet and nutty flavor with a slight bitterness.Firm, supple texture.Excellent in gratins, fondue, and sandwiches. Also works well on a cheese board.
FontinaMild, nutty flavor with earthy notes.Semi-soft, creamy texture.Ideal for fondue, pizza, and sandwiches. Also delicious on a cheese platter.
AbondanceFruity, buttery flavor with a hint of nuttiness.Semi-hard, supple texture.Good for cheese boards, sandwiches, and melted in dishes like fondue.
BeaufortSweet, creamy flavor with hints of hay and nuttiness.Firm, dense texture.Excellent for fondue, gratin, and tartiflette. Also shines on a cheese board.
EmmentalMild, nutty flavor with fruity undertones.Firm, smooth texture with characteristic holes.Works well in sandwiches, salads, and melted on top of dishes. It’s also a classic choice for fondue.

What Pairs Well With Prairie Tomme?

Food that goes well with Prairie Tomme:

BreadBaguette, SourdoughThe crunchy crust and soft inside of these breads complement the firm texture of Prairie Tomme nicely.
FruitsApples, Pears, GrapesThe sweetness and slight tartness of these fruits provide a nice contrast to the earthy and nutty flavor of Prairie Tomme.
CharcuterieSalami, ProsciuttoThe saltiness and fatty richness of these meats balance out the mild, slightly tangy flavor of Prairie Tomme.
NutsAlmonds, WalnutsThe earthy flavors and crunch of these nuts pair well with the creamy, nutty flavor of Prairie Tomme.
Jams/PreservesFig Jam, Apricot PreservesThe sweet and fruity flavors of these jams/preserves offer a bright contrast to the savory Prairie Tomme.
CrackersWhole Grain Crackers, Seeded CrackersThe light, crispy texture and subtle flavor of these crackers allow the Prairie Tomme to shine.
Pickled FoodsCornichons, Pickled OnionsThe acidity and crunch of these pickled foods provide a nice contrast to the creamy, mild Prairie Tomme.
CondimentsHoney, Grainy MustardThe sweetness of honey or the tanginess of mustard can highlight the complex flavors in Prairie Tomme.

Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese

Beverage that goes well with Prairie Tomme:

WineChardonnay, Pinot NoirThe full-bodied and fruit-forward characteristics of these wines match well with the creamy, nutty flavors of Prairie Tomme.
BeerBelgian Ales, Brown AlesThe complex flavors and carbonation in these beers pair nicely with the earthy, tangy notes in Prairie Tomme.
CiderDry Apple Cider, Pear CiderThe crisp acidity and fruitiness of these ciders offer a refreshing contrast to the rich, savory Prairie Tomme.
Non-AlcoholicSparkling Water, Herbal TeaThe light, neutral flavors of these beverages allow the intricate flavors of Prairie Tomme to shine.
WhiskeyScotch, BourbonThe smoky, sweet, and robust flavors of these whiskeys can stand up to the strong, earthy flavors of Prairie Tomme.
Fortified WinePort, SherryThe sweetness and high alcohol content of these wines balance the salty, creamy texture of Prairie Tomme.

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

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