Mmmm... Humboldt Fog... this is a cheese that holds a very special place in my heart. The cheesemaker, Mary Keehn, was one of the amazing people who contributed to our training while we were preparing for the ACS Certified Cheese Professional test. She led a conference call and live meeting and went over all there is to know about Humboldt Fog and goat cheese in general. Her information was invaluable and I really love to support Cypress Grove whenever I can. It's an added bonus that the creamery is local. Now on to the cheese!
Humboldt Fog was one of the first artisan goat cheeses released in the American market and as a result, has become a cheese that most everybody knows. Mary explained that she first thought about making this cheese when she was flying back from France. She says she was dreaming of Morbier (a French cheese that has a line of vegetable ash running through it like what you see above) and of her home in Humboldt county where the fog looks like this:
This is where the idea to run the vegetable ash through the middle originated. Pretty cool right? (I borrowed the picture from the PowerPoint presentation that Mary gave - thanks Mary!)
Now, the flavor of Humboldt Fog is quite spectacular. It is so fresh and creamy, light and inviting. With your first bite, you get the flavor of the goat's milk (a little tangy, yet creamy) and then it mellows to a bit of an earthy flavor from the ash and the rind. It is a fun cheese because at different ages, you get different flavors. The longer it ages, the more gooey and herbal and earthy it gets. Humboldt Fog definitely has a personality of its own. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the outer edges have begun to get a little gooey and this is a result of proteolysis, or the break down of proteins. When left to ripen more, the cheese starts to get even more gooey along the edges and even starts to get soft towards the middle. This particular cut of the Humboldt Fog is a little young. I typically like it aged a little bit more because the flavor gets more earthy and less acidic.
You should be able to find Humboldt Fog at cheese shops all around the country. But I'd invite you all to come by and try a piece at my counter. A nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pale Ale would pair beautifully with this cheese.
Well that's all I have for now... I hope you all get a chance to try this amazing cheese if you haven't already. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!