Humboldt Fog Cheese

By Tatiana Pietrzak

A remarkable goat cheese that won first place from the American Cheese Society is Humboldt Fog, produced by Cypress Grove. The center of the cheese feels like a cloud is melting in your mouth. It echoes the place where it is made – the northwest coast of California in Humboldt County, a place where the fog rolls in from the bay.

In the 1970’s Mary Keehn wanted healthy milk for her children. After raising two goats, she developed a passion for high Alpine (of or relating to high mountains) goats. A few years later she had many more goats and too much milk. At that point she began experimenting with cheesemaking and began a company. As the company grew, she sold goats to nearby farmers, buying the milk back.

After many acquisition offers, she finally settled on one in 2010. The Swiss company Emmi purchased her company. Fifty-one percent is owned by a co-op of small farmers and dairy operators. It is a $2.6 billion company.

The cheese itself is aged ten days and turned daily. A horizontal layer of edible vegetable ash is lined through its center. It has a lemony and citrus-like tang when it is young. A bloomy mold-ripened rind covers the gooey insides.

For best results, use wax paper to store. Ripened cheeses need to breath and wax paper rather than plastic wrap allows this to happen. Serve with honeycomb, pears and a crisp white wine ( Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are good selections for this Humboldt cheese.) It also pairs well with wild mushrooms and other earthy flavors. The shelf-life (once bought from the store) is about four weeks. It will continue ripening in your refrigerator. After ten to fourteen days, serve with a light red wine such as Pinot Noir or Rosé.

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