Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

As much as I enjoy going south of the border to visit my family, I also love the chance to shop for U.S. artisanal cheese (typically right after a Target run). One of my long-time favourites has been a goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre in California called Humboldt Fog. With a loyal following in the U.S. market and no end of accolades , this cheese is truly an American classic.

Sitting on a cheeseboard, a slice of Humboldt Fog looks like a wedge of ghostly, delicate cake. A line of dark ash delineates the rind and another thin line of ash runs through the core of the cheese, representing the line of thick morning fog in Humboldt County that visually divides the Pacific Ocean from the famous redwood forests.

If the wheel is ripe (as I prefer), the paste under the exterior edge of this soft, bloomy -rind cheese will have softened to creamy indulgence. The core will be dense and tangy. At this point , the rind has developed a stronger, earthy essence, its structure barely containing the surrender of the oozing cheese within. But for a cleaner, lemony flavour, you could start your exploration with a younger version of this cheese, which has now been released in Canada (whoot!) along with several other Cypress Grove cheeses.

Story continues below advertisement

When Mary Keehn, founder of Cypress Grove, started making goat cheese over 30 years ago, there wasn't much domestic product on the market. Most goat cheese came from Europe and by the time it got to the United States, it was "not for the faint of heart," says Bob McCall, sales and marketing director. Ms. Keehn began commercial production in 1983, after what Mr. McCall describes as the "tipping point" for goat cheese during the local/artisanal movement that took root at the Chez Panisse Café in Berkeley, Calif. Chèvre made by pioneering U.S. goat -cheese maker Lauren Chenel was featured in the restaurant's wilted spinach salad and was an instant hit (and has stayed on the menu ever since). Ms. Keehn's goat cheeses helped further win over the palates of the American public, grabbing attention after the birth of Humboldt Fog in 1992.

What you'll notice about any of the goat cheeses from Cypress Grove is they have tang but not a harsh acidity , and their crispness is balanced with a smooth creamy texture – qualities Mr. McCall attributes to the milk used. It's high in butterfat and protein , and low in bacteria (which is what can give goat cheeses a goaty, barnyard taste).

As beloved as Humboldt Fog is in the U.S ., it was outshone in Canadian tastings at the recent Gourmet Food and Wine Expo by its sibling Truffle Tremor. Also a soft bloomy -rind cheese, Truffle Tremor is creamy, rich and savoury , and infused with earthy Black Summer truffles from Northern Italy. Skip dessert, this makes a satisfying end to any meal.

In the end, it was the chèvres I tasted that grabbed my attention. Mr. McCall emphasized that the goal at Cypress Grove is to make high -quality chèvre, avoiding the more common route of mass marketing this fresh cheese at low cost (which usually leaves me lukewarm about chèvre at best). But the zing of the lavender -and -fennel -pollen -flavoured Purple Haze woke me up to the pleasures of this fresh cheese. The herb notes were bright and lively , and the texture of the cheese was dense, rich and addictive. The Herbs de Humboldt (a tongue-in-cheek reference to the biggest economic driver in Humboldt County marijuana) contains a hand-mixed blend of Herbs de Provence. I'm officially converted.

Next year , Cypress Grove will celebrate Humboldt Fog's 20th birthday with a "confessional" booth at January's Fancy Food Show in San Francisco where people can document their " first time with Humboldt Fog ."

If I could offer one tip for your first taste? Be patient with the cheese ; bring it to room temperature. I promise it will be very, very good.



Where these cheeses can be found:

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver: Whole Foods, Bosa Foods

Ontario: Whole Foods, Sobeys

Toronto: Cheese Boutique, Summerhill Market, Leslieville Cheese Market

Waterloo, Ont.: Vincenzo's

London, Ont.: Smith Cheese, Remark

Georgetown, Ont: Mill Street Cheese Market

Story continues below advertisement

Editor's Note: The Mill Street Cheese Market in Georgetown. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier version of this article.





Sue Riedl blogs about cheese and other edibles at cheeseandtoast.com.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies