You may have heard of Humboldt Fog–it’s a cheese, not the weather report. Every week I cut rounds of Cypress Grove’s flagship offering as I wheel & deal a world of cheese. There is a buzz spreading about Humboldt Fog. It is a cheese that lends itself to legend and this is the cheesy tale of how it brought me full chevre-wheel.
My story starts on the sandy shores of the North Coast five years ago. I was on a week-long vacation from Baltimore, visiting friends and camping. In Arcata, we commenced with local fare: wine, baguette and a wedge of Humboldt Fog served over easy–at the beach, complete with setting sun. Really, that’s all it took.
The soft-ripened cheese made from goat’s milk shone like a lighthouse beacon, the cultural climate thriving on its bloomy gossamer face, with dark mottling that foreshadowed deeper flavors. Tangy and bright, Fog’s beginnings express the temperate, fanciful coastal atmosphere where goats graze in the salty air. A paper thin line of ash encircles and bolts through the center of this cheese cake. Perhaps it is the glimmer of sapphire that appears where milk and ash meet, or maybe its the citrus-flavored chevre center that teases at a blue cheese. Either way, Humboldt Fog’s creaminess is cut by a quaking layer of ash as it deviates into murkier territories of ocean water-esque turbidity (if you get my drift). You are now engulfed in the blue velvet mystery.
Fog is a stand-alone, as rooted here as the redwoods and singing the praises of its native land with every bite. The magic of that first evening at the beach still stirs my soul. It will forever mark a cornerstone in my life as it embodies many of my core values: local traditional foods, the outdoors, good company and quiet meditation.
When wildfires cut our camping inland short, we evacuated back to Arcata. Enjoying fresh air and farmer’s markets, with the week coming to an end, I resigned from my job in Maryland to sign on for a farm internship in Orleans, California. Thus began a string of work-exchange experiences in the art of making food–weeding with a stirrup hoe, pruning, harvest schedules, watering schedules, preparing beds, earthen oven construction, meat cutting, cheese-making, egg collecting, bread baking, preparing a meal- you name it! I was back in Humboldt in under a year barking up that tall tree again.
Today my relationship to the North Coast and its homegrown offerings are as enriching as ever. Fog is perfectly and simply at home here. I am honored to bring others into the fold as a part of my daily service to the community by sharing my passion for well-crafted food. I appreciate that my enthusiasm resonates with people.
Last week I sent a New Jersey couple home with an entire five pound round of Humboldt Fog. I am always impressed when people make the extra effort of taking it back across the country. I think it is because this cheese somehow embodies the region’s character in a profound way. Abroad, Fog acts as a diplomat, known around the world. It’s an experience giving you many, many senses of this place, and many, many more questions to ponder as it melts in your mouth. Taste it- you’ll see our Humboldt Fog is in the air & under the rind.