Tasting Notes: Black Sheep Creamery Tomme and St. Helens

Black Sheep Creamery With crocuses blooming and daffodils poised to follow, it's clear that spring is creeping into the crevices of the Pacific Northwest's rainy landscape. Spring brings many things, among them baby lambs and goats and calves and fresh milk for cheesemaking.

Black Sheep Creamery continues to recover from the December 2007 flood...some may not realize that, in fact, the Gregorys managed to save a good portion of their aging cheese, which is currently being stored by the good folks at Beecher's in Seattle. Look for Black Sheep's cheeses for sale at retail outlets around the Pacific Northwest. Here are two I tried recently:

Black Sheep St. Helens.... fruity and tropical notes remind me of Parmigiano-Reggiano; the granular, crumbly texture reinforces the theme. This cheese is sharp and pungent, but not nearly as domineering as its Italian cousin (at left in the photo).

Black Sheep Tomme.... a little bit younger and creamier than the St. Helens, this cheese starts out with a slight tartness, then mellows into mushroomy, nutty and earthy notes. A savory indulgence (at right in the photo).