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Cheese of the Week: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog

Dreamy soft-ripened goat's milk cheese from Humboldt County, California.

Images courtesy of Cypress Grove.

This highly-decorated cheese came to Cypress Grove founder Mary Keehn in a dream while flying home from a trip to France. Humboldt Fog is a soft-ripened goat's cheese with a thin layer of vegetable ash, which is added as an ode to California's morning fog. It boasts a super fudgy texture with a creamline that develops as it ages. Its flavor is tangy, slightly goat-y and buttery with floral notes and a citrus finish. As it matures, these flavors become more complex. Its rind is edible and, according to Cypress Grove, is "a key part of the cheese’s flavor and adds a fantastic textural contrast". Nicknamed "The Original American Original", Humboldt Fog paved the way for soft-ripened goat cheese in the United States.

Image courtesy of Cypress Grove.

Humboldt Fog is made with pasteurized goat's milk from a dairy nearby the Cypress Grove creamery. The dairy's priority is the wellbeing and happiness of the goats. The goats have access to the outdoor pasture as well as indoor, ventilated and naturally-lit areas. The dairy has been endorsed by the American Humane Association as Humane Certified with a 100 percent score for the past 3 years.

Soon after the milk is collected, enzymes and cultures are added and the milk allowed to curdle overnight. The curds are drained and salted before being added to molds. Cheesemakers fill the cheese molds halfway with curd before sprinkling a layer of vegetable ash. More curds are added on top of the vegetable ash to fill the molds. The exterior is then sprayed with additional ash and mold cultures. During the ten day aging period, the thin rind develops and the interior gets increasingly creamy.

In the 1970s, Cypress Grover founder Mary Keehn was in search of healthy milk for her kids in a world where processed, pre-packaged food was the norm. Her neighbor had goats to control brush, and, with the permission of the neighbor, Mary was able to catch two goats to have for herself. These two goats, Esmeralda and Hazel, were the first of many goats that Mary would adopt. The herd produced a lot of milk, and therefore Mary decided to try making cheese. Mary officially opened Cypress Grove in 1983. Today, Cypress Grove has a large range of goat cheeses, from fresh chevre to aged, Gouda-like cheeses.

Enjoy Humboldt Fog with honey, prosciutto, green apple, almonds, Rosé, Pinot Noir or an IPA. Or, fire things up and try this delicious Humboldt Fog Brûlée recipe!


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