Cheese of the Month: Tomme de Linden Dale

story by Tenaya DarlingtonWhen I stopped by Andrew Mellinger’s stand at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market, he was sold out of his goat Tomme. Fortunately he still had toothpick samples, and it was so good that I convinced him to sell me his display wheel. “Let it ripen on your counter for a couple weeks,” he told me.
 
I did as instructed, and when I finally cut into it, I was once again blown away by the beautiful ivory paste and the sweet, nutty notes of this rustic wonder from Ronks, PA. If it weren’t for the label—which features a LaMancha wearing a monocle—I might have forgotten this was a goat cheese. There’s no goaty tang; not even a hint.

Mellinger started making his Tomme this summer after his son Abe, 21, returned from a cheese apprenticeship in southern France. “He brought home this recipe, and we started experimenting,” explains Mellinger. “We’re real pleased with how it’s aging.” All six of his children are involved in the operation, from marketing to raising the kids. The land they farm has been in the family for seven generations.
 
“When I grew up, this was a raw-milk dairy,” says Mellinger. “We had cows, but I switched to goats because they’re seasonal. Now all of our milk goes into cheesemaking.”

The Mellingers make small-batch chevre, goat mozzarella and an aged pyramid-shaped cheese they call “Dalencay,” after Valencay, the famous French goat cone rolled in ash. Mellinger pasteurizes his young cheeses, but a raw Tomme de Linden Dale is in the works—it’s aging right now and should be available at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers’ Market through fall. Keep an eye out for this up-and-comer; it’s worth buying a whole wheel.

Linden Dale Farm, 127 Herr Rd., Ronks, PA, 717-687-8008, mellingers2@msn.com