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When we think of California, we think about a laid-back lifestyle and pure, farm-raised food with an innovative twist. The cheeses we’re tasting this Saturday deliver on that dream. Join us.

Humboldt Fog Tastings Gourmet MarketHumboldt Fog

Known as the iconic American cheese that sent shock waves through the entire cheese world, Humboldt Fog evokes French cheesemaking as well as northern California’s voluminous coastal fog. This cheese almost single-handedly changed the face of American artisanal cheese and brought new-found respect to American cheesemakers, thanks to Cypress Farm cheesemaker and founder Mary Keehn. It was the first American cheese exported to France – no small deal.

Elegant and luscious, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate: it is shaped like a birthday cake, and each wheel features a distinctive ribbon of edible vegetable ash. Now, close your eyes and take in the taste of this incomparable beauty: buttermilk and fresh cream highlighted with floral notes, herbs, and a clean citrus finish.

The cheese ripens from the outside-in, and as it matures, its subtle tanginess grows more pronounced and delicious cream begins to develop under the rind and drift to the center of the cheese. You’ll know this cheese is ripe when it becomes runny at the edges — always a special treat! That runny gooeyness is what Humboldt Fog is famous for. And it’s why Humboldt Fog is among the most sought-after American cheeses in Europe, not to mention the U.S.

Origin: California (Humboldt County)
Producer: Cypress Grove
Milk: Pasteurized goat
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Age: 3 weeks
Look: Gray and white with a line of black vegetable ash through the center and encircling the cheese
Feel: Semi-soft, creamy, runny, smooth, fudgy
Smell: Floral, goaty, pungent
Taste: Citrusy, herbaceous, tangy
Pairs well with: Drizzle with honey; serve with Marcona almonds, apple, prosciutto. Add it to salad. The tang is well complemented with blueberries. Grab a jar of blueberry preserves and spread it over Fog for an unbelievable pairing.
Tastes good with: Depending on its ripeness, Humboldt Fog goes well with many different wines and beers. For younger cheese, Demi-sec sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, or a hoppy IPA.

Herbs de Humboldt Tastings Gourmet MarketHerbs de Humboldt

Origin: California (Humboldt County)
Producer: Cypress Grove
Milk: Pasteurized goat
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: None
Age: Fresh
Look: 3-inch disk of white cheese with herbs de Provence pressed onto the exterior
Feel: Creamy, spreadable, dense, velvety
Smell: Fresh, herby
Taste: Herbaceous, floral, earthy
Pairs well with: Try it alone on a baguette, and then branch out into using it on pizza, pasta, or salad.
Tastes good with: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, white Bordeaux

The classic taste makes Herbs de Humboldt a sought-after California cheese. The earthiness of herbs de Provence added to classic goat cheese creates a simple, perfect balance. The herbs are dried at the peak of season and the milk is of the highest quality – the secret to great cheese.

Imagine it crumbled on a homemade pizza. Swoon to think about the deliciousness of wrapping it around a fresh fig with a slice of bacon.

And it’s a winner:  Herbs de Humboldt has won first place in five separate American Cheese Society competitions, won second place at the U.S. Cheese Championships in 2005, and earned the Silver at World Cheese Awards 2014 and 2016.

Hopscotch Cheddar Tastings Gourmet MarketHopscotch Cheddar

This cleverly named cheese gets its label from the “hops” present in the beer used to create it. A one-of-a-kind local Scotch Ale gives it its distinct flavor. Created from Fiscalini’s traditional Cheddar, whose curds are soaked in the beer to make this masterpiece, Hopscotch is creamy white with dark highlights from the beer. You’ll also notice a faint amber color.

Fiscalini’s aged cheeses are made in the European fashion – by hand and using the best milk possible. FIscalini raises its own cows on its 100 year-old family-owned dairy farm, and it prides itself for using environmentally sound practices. The electricity from the entire farm originates with methane from cow manure and other waste products.

Hopscotch’s creamy, rich finish makes it a stand-out for your cheese platter. Or serve it with pizza, fondue, or almost any dish to add a special kick. It’s a great melter and makes an outstanding dip.

Origin: California (Modesto)
Producer: Fiscalini
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: Natural
Age: 18 months
Look: 3-inch disk of white cheese with herbs de Provence pressed onto the exterior
Feel: Firm, semi-hard
Smell: Earthy
Taste: Bold with a rich, creamy finish
Pairs well with: Prosciutto, fig jam, crackers, melted in dishes. Try it on pizza, or melt it with caramelized onions, bacon, and mushrooms for a delicious dip. It also makes an amazing fondue, perfect for pretzel dipping.
Tastes good with: Any beer, especially dark, malty ales. For wine, choose a Malbec, Tempranillo, or Bordeaux.


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