Cypress Grove Chevre

by Matt Hart in Cheese

An ever so brief herstory of Cypress Grove Chevre:

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“Honey, if you can catch them, you can have them.”

Mary Keehn, founder of Cypress Grove Chevre, began her journey in cheese in the 1970s. Like most great gustatory accomplishments in American artisanal cheese making, the Cypress Grove Chevre company materialized out of a series of “perfect storm”-like circumstances which include, but are not limited to, some science, a great deal of improvisation, lots of hard work, a dash of necessity and of course, everyone’s favorite cheese ingredient: blind luck! Not unlike many others in the field, Mary Keehn didn’t seek out cheese making as a profession, but happened upon it. Most of us who work in cheese don’t choose it. Cheese chooses us! Mary Keehn is no exception. A single mother of four daughters, Mary was living in Humboldt County in northern California when she began her search for a healthy, cost effective milk source to sustain her family. Mary discovered her neighbor had more goats than she needed and when asked if she’d sell any of them, her neighbor’s reply was “Honey, if you can catch them, you can have them.” So after capturing a couple does, Mary (with a background in biology) eventually bred her goats, which quickly resulted in a surplus of milk. Mary put that surplus to work, trying her hand at cheese making. Soon thereafter, America’s most iconic goat cheese producer was born!

Now I don’t know about you, but goat cheese always reminds me of springtime and there are few cheeses I’d rather enjoy on a lovely spring day than Humboldt Fog or any of the Cypress Grove Chevre discs (my favorite being Sgt. Peppers)! In honor of spring this year, we’ll be featuring Cypress Grove’s entire line throughout the month of April.

Here’s what you can expect at a Southern Season cheese counter near you:

Humboldt Fog Grande & Humboldt Fog Mini

The subtle, tangy flavor and distinctive layer of edible vegetable ash are a prized combination in this iconic American original. You’ll enjoy buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbal overtones and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the layer of proteolysis just under the rind will increase developing a more intense flavor.

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Truffle Tremor

The perfectly balanced marriage of ripened goat cheese jam-packed with Italian black summer truffles. Elegant and sophisticated, you’ll enjoy the heavy floral, herb and mushroom notes in this earth-shaking masterpiece.

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Bermuda Triangle

Created with the chef in mind, the distinctive triangular shape and layer of edible black ash offers unique portion control and presentation options. Tart and tangy with intense pepper notes, this is the perfect cheese for any rind lover.

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All of the 4 oz. fresh chevre discs will be featured this month as well!

Purple Haze

The unexpected marriage of lavender and wild fennel pollen distinguish Purple Haze and make it utterly addictive.

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PsycheDillic

Fragrant and rare dill pollen adds a depth of flavor that sends your palate to a heightened state of awareness. Pucker up, a tart and bright finish awaits you.

Sgt. Pepper

A secret combination exotic spices and pepper threads result in a complex and visually pleasing experience…with a kick!

Ms. Natural

Perfectly cultured milk, au natural is the building block of our entire line of fresh chevre. Experience fresh cream with a citrus finish; that’s it, we promise no goat-y aftertaste.

Herbs de Humboldt

The fresh taste of a hand-mixed blend of Herbs de Provence balance simply, yet perfectly. All the herbal flavors you love dried at the peak of the season. Clever in name, classic in taste.

And on a table this month you’ll find Cypress Grove’s two “out-of-towners”: Midnight Moon and Lamb Chopper. Both are Dutch Goudas that’ll impress any lover of aged cheeses.

Check Them Out:

Midnight Moon

Aged six months or more, this blushing, ivory-colored cheese is dense and smooth with a slight crunch of protein crystals that form naturally with aging. Made in Holland exclusively for Cypress Grove Chevre, Midnight Moon is nutty and brown buttery up front with a long caramel finish.

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Lamb Chopper

Aged just three to six months, this cheese develops a deep buttery color and smooth texture. Made in Holland exclusively for Cypress Grove Chevre, Lamb Chopper is a sure crowd pleaser and a favorite with kids!

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Wow, right? Lots and lots of cheese! How can it get any better you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya how. Our in-store restaurants will be featuring a special Prix Fixe menu from April 6 through April 10 showcasing dishes that will include as a main ingredient several of Cypress Grove Chevre’s most well-loved cheeses! The menu, designed by our gifted Chef Spencer Carter and his devoted crew, will be as follows:

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First Course

Meat & Cheese | housemade head cheese, lamb chopper, herbs de humboldt crackers

Second Course
Braised Ox Tail | sgt. pepper gnocchi, pea tendrils, wild mushroom & midnight moon fondue

Third Course
Humboldt Fog Cake | almond crisp, blueberry-apricot compote, whipped chocolate purple haze

Weathervane at Southern Season Chapel Hill dinner information.

Southerly at Southern Season Charleston dinner information.

(Price is $29 per person. Tax and gratuity not included. Reservations recommended.)

So, yeah, unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 20 years, you’ve by now heard the name Cypress Grove Chevre. I’d also wager that by now, most of you have tasted Humboldt Fog, Midnight Moon or any one of Mary’s signature chevre discs. If by chance you truly have existed under a rock for the past two decades, do come out from under it and creepy crawl your way to the cheese counter for a taste! I guarantee you’ll not regret it!

(Photo credit: Cypress Grove Chevre)