I Got Fogged Up on Humboldt Cheese

Humbolt Fog is the most coveted goat's milk tomme to come out of the Emerald Triangle, the lush landscape of northern California. It’s that dank, citrusy, velvety treat that melts in your mouth faster than a hit of E at a Spiritualized concert.

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May 15 2014, 6:31pm

Photo by Janelle Jones

Welcome to Learning to Love the Stink, our new cheese column written by Charlotte Kamin, owner and cheesemonger—yes, that's a real term–at the Bedford Cheese Shop. She's here to de-mystify the stinkiest of cheese terms, cheeses, and makers in the biz to help you sound like a boss the next time you roll up to the fart…um… cheese counter.

Humbolt Fog is the most coveted goat's milk tomme to come out of the Emerald Triangle, the lush landscape of northern California. It's that dank, citrusy, velvety treat that melts in your mouth faster than a hit of E at a Spiritualized concert. And then there's that layer of bucky goo at the rind—dripping and moist when perfectly ripe—whose vein of vegetable ash streaked through the pure white paste mocks tracers of acid like that one time (and one time only) at that Phish show.

Man, this is the real aphrodisiac. Oysters' slippery vaginal-esque-ness got nothing on this goat-y hit. It's the cheese that will make any grown woman damp in the panties after just one lick. The cheese that makes the most dapper Dan get a stiffy at first sight. It looks like a birthday cake, all pillowy and white, all virginal and lovely.

The stony folks up at Cypress Grove have been cranking out this little nugget of all-natural goat's milk since the 70s, when Mary Keehn chased down some goats with a can of oats. True story, ask Mary. The single mama of four daughters did what any working woman would do: She made the damn thing pop. After breeding the kids—the goats, not the daughters—she began crafting cheeses in the 80s, when the peak of the Cali cocaine heyday took hold, and roasted beets as a pizza topping were all the rage.

It's the cheese that will make any grown woman damp in the panties after just one lick.

Thanks to the excessive affluence of creepy dudes wearing linen blazers with shoulder pads—Miami Vice, you gave us so much—and their trophy-bronzed wives, goat cheese became a status symbol for the rich and famous. When Robin Leach jetted off on those gilded yachts on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, there was always a wedge on hand. The effeminate and gentle sweetness of the Cali goat danced delicate circles around the aggressive Frenchie goats of the Loire. A new taste sensation was birthed. Decades ticked past, as memories faded and Mary sold off her goats to neighboring farms and sold her company. But there is something that stays true: One taste will turn any non-cheese eater into a full-blown dairy hoarder.

Give her a try. The first taste is always free.