7 Great Goat Cheeses You Should Know

Humboldt Fog

Region of Origin: Humboldt County, California

Notes: Humboldt Fog, created by Mary Keens at Cypress Grove Chevre in McKinleyville, California, is named after Humboldt County's thick morning fog. It's an American original. Mary Keens started crafting goat cheeses in the 1980's and helped lead the American artisanal cheesemaking revolution. Humboldt Fog is a gorgeous wheel of goat's milk cheese with a clean, lemony, lactic taste which becomes earthier and mustier with age. Cut open the pillowy bloomy rind to find bright white, smooth paste, bisected with a thin line of black vegetable ash.

Serve: Over a dish of roasted wild mushrooms. Or with soft-dried pears, a drizzle of honey, and a crisp white wine.

Goat cheese might be the most controversial cheese. If you work at a cheese restaurant or behind a cheese counter (as I have) and ask people "Is there anything you don't like?," you will hear "goat cheese" like a sad refrain.

Why? Is it because people have been inundated with inferior, chalky grocery store goats? Is it the gamy funk? Is it the fault of the goat, the poor humble goat? I love goat cheese with all my heart and tummy, so to me, this doesn't seem fair.

I am a goat cheese evangelist and optimist who believes even the staunchest goat cheese hater may be forever converted with a bite of something ethereal, something that shatters all goat cheese expectations, like the raw milk Tomme de Chevre Aydius, which has the texture of gruyere and a grassy sweetness that departs entirely from the familiar goat lexicon.

Behold, the beautiful, sculptural varieties of French chevres. The logs, the pyramids, the buttons. French cheesemakers have been crafting chevre for a thousand years and counting. Whatever your goat cheese stance, I urge you to open your mind and mouth to some (or all!) of these seven greats.

7 Goat Cheeses You Should Know

More Cheese You Should Know and Eat