Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cheese Profile: Humboldt Fog

-Tastes like way back when.-

This post begins with an apology to mom. Mom, I'm sorry for every single grass stain I ever put in my clothes as a child. Those things can be more stubborn than what my eating habits were during the age I was rubbing in all that green. Verdant evidence that my recesses were, indeed, well spent.

However, at the age of 26 and while soaking a good t-shirt and Express jeans in the sink I have a new found anathema for the laundry drudgery kids must put their parents through. This experience I blame on Mary Keehn, the owner of Cypress Grove Chevre. Yes, Mary, we may never have met before, but you and your Humboldt Fog are to blame for these grass stains.

Now, there are a lot of good goat cheeses out there but Humboldt Fog is generally recognized to be one of America's, if not the entire cheese world's, best. The powder-svelte mouthfeel of this chevre is light and creamy, even somewhat earthy.

A good cheese should reflect its sense of place; where it's grown and nurtured along. The pasture fed goats who roam Humboldt County in Northern California, an area rich in natural growth and sunshine. California's happy cows aren't nearly as happy as Humboldt goats.

The cheese is then aged, and, being flanked by the misting fog and salt of Pacific on one side, and musky, ancient redwoods on the other, the cheese absorbs these flavors. In addition, a fine layer of vegetable ash and salt running through the center and lightly coating the cheese gives it a unique and memorable appearance one might associate with rolling fog across a coastline.

-See? Rolling fog and coastline.-

As I bit into this cheese its cool and pleasant tang reminded me of foggy California mornings before school started. A huge grassy hill, the mountain-like kind most children dream about playing on and conquering as king, ran parallel to the all-purpose field. Those cold mornings with the grass still wet, friends and I would lay straight as logs to the slope and roll downhill screaming with joy as we bounced along at frightening speed. By the time we'd reach the bottom we'd be trying to catch our breath through the fits of laughter. Taking in gulps of air. Rubbing our grass-stained bruises.

This cheese reminds me of that cold, wet air we sucked in so greedily.

Biting into it took me back to easier times when finding a good hill was the best thing ever. As for why my clothes are stained and I hold Miss Keehn accountable?

Well, there happens to be a school with a really big hill by my house...

-Pairs well with crackers, on a salad, with white wine, and some stain remover.-


  1. This is my favourite profile so far!

  2. One of my all-time favorite cheeses...

  3. I'm reading Goat Song right now and have been dying for a top notch chevre...DROOL!

  4. I discovered Humboldt Fog a few months and was immediately taken by both the taste and the texture. The story of the flavors makes it that much better!

  5. Gosh I can't believe I've been living in California for a year and still haven't tried this! It looks fantastic, thanks for posting!

    I am a cheese freak. I am sooo happy I found your cheese porn. I am drooling! (Sorry to be so graphic.)

  7. Lovely, Garrett. The pictures, the words, the images... Perfect. And now I must get me some of that cheese...

  8. Humboldt Fog is so good that it is definitely worth some grass stains for...

  9. One of my favorites! I can just imagine a nice glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and a fresh baguette with a bit of fig jam thrown in for good measure. Thanks for profiling!


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