When I first created the “Cheese 101” blog series, I had high hopes of posting once a week. After just two entries, that goal went right out the window. A few weeks ago, I purchased three cheeses from the “just enough” basket at Heinen’s, planning to sample and post within a few days. Instead, I became sick and then life just took over. Unfortunately, I waited long enough for the cheeses to just start spoiling with Divine Providence going completely bad. Thankfully though, I was still able to experience the full flavor and texture of the Fol Epi Swiss and Humboldt Fog. As a stand in for the Divine Providence, I returned to Heinen’s and found some Leonora Goat.

Cheese 101: Leonora Goat

Leonora Goat

Background

[Leonora is] created from a single herd of goats in Leon, Spain. The pasteurized milk keeps a fresh, flaky, though creamy texture while the ashed exterior forms a natural mold rind. Leonora is extremely delicate…(Courtesy Murray’s Cheese)

…the roughly 4-pound Leonora resembles a large flattened log, or brick, with slightly flared sides. The natural rind exhibits plentiful white and gray mold, producing a coat that looks like the bark of a birch tree. “I’ve never seen a rind like this,” I wrote in my earliest tasting notes, when the cheese’s bloomy surface was speckled with mysterious brownish molds. (Courtesy SFGate)

When young, Leonora’s flavours are balanced, bright, creamy and lactic with bright grass and lemon overtones. As it ripens, it can become strong and intense especially just below the rind. (Courtesy Cheese.com)

Aroma/Flavor

The aroma of Leonora Goat is unlike anything I have personally smelled in a goat cheese. Although it seems unusual to be able to “smell” a texture,  that is what happened. The smell of creamy, velvety and smooth mimics the texture perfectly. My particular square of Leonora also had a crumbly texture. Upon first whiff of Leonora, dessert is one of the first images that pop into my head.

The kitchn describes Leonora’s flavor as “fresh, vibrant” with “just a touch of goatiness.” The kitchn also tasted “notes of lemon, thyme and a natural sweetness” that reminded them of honeysuckle. I definitely agree with the kitchn’s flavor description.

Cheese 101: Leonora Goat

Final Thoughts

I enjoy goat cheese but it is not one of my go-to cheeses. That has changed now that I have tried Leonora Goat. This cheese truly blew me away with its silky texture and slightly tangy flavor. This cheese would be perfect as a dessert after a wonderful, homemade dinner. No matter if you like goat cheese or not, this is a must for all cheese lovers.

Cheese 101: Fol Epi Swiss

Fol Epi

Background

Although it much resembles Emmentaler, the true Swiss cheese, in color, flavor and appearance when cut (Emmentaler is made in huge wheels nearing 100 pounds), it is altogether a more tender being than the rustic and slightly rubbery Swiss.

If Emmentaler is compared to, say, Katharine Hepburn — strong, a little prickly and unapologetic, then Fol Epi is Audrey Hepburn: sweeter, more innocent, more delicate.

Fol Epi is made of cow’s milk in rounds weighing just more than 6 pounds. The exterior is decorated with relief designs of heads of ripe wheat and is coated with a velvety covering of toasted wheat flour.

Even the name Fol Epi means wild wheat. It is an altogether pretty package. (Courtesy Courrier&Press)

Aroma/Flavor

Fol Epi’s aroma is a mix of nutty and sweet, very similar to a typical Swiss cheese. The flavor, in my opinion, doesn’t match the strong smell. The flavor is milder and less pungent, lacking the bite of a traditional Swiss. Fol Epi has a more delicate flavor.

folepiswiss2

Final Thoughts

The aroma created high expectations that the flavor, in my opinion, didn’t deliver. Fol Epi had a rich, traditional Swiss cheese smell while the flavor seemed watered down and lacking in punch. I enjoy Swiss here and there but, unfortunately, the Fol Epi was a letdown.

Additional Resources

Cheese 101: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog

Humboldt Fog

Background

[Humboldt Fog’s] name comes from the location of the creamery—the rolling hills of foggy Humboldt County in northern California, where the redwoods meet the Pacific. Because Humboldt Fog is encased in an edible mold rind, its taste and appearance change while aging.

Between the cheese and the rind, a creamy layer grows as enzymes in the mold digest the milk proteins in the cheese.  The more the cheese ages, the larger the layer.  The process is technically called proteolysis…(Courtesy Whole Foods Market)

Elegant and luscious, this three-week old cheese pays homage to classic French Morbier by running a thin line of grey vegetable ash through its creamy, white center. As Humboldt Fog ages, its subtle tanginess grows more pronounced and a runny edge of thick and delicious ooze begins to develop under the rind and drift to the center of the cheese. (Courtesy Cowgirl Creamery)

Aroma/Flavor

Humboldt Fog has a strong, earthy aroma with a smooth and creamy texture. The ash permeating the cheese is mostly flavorless but adds a unique element. As I waited too long to sample the Humboldt Fog, I assumed the runny shell, that is potentially the best part of the cheese, was evidence that the cheese had begun to spoil. I wrongly avoided it and instead missed out on sampling it.

Cheese 101: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog

Final Thoughts

Humboldt Fog won first place at the American Cheese Society in 1998, 2002 and 2005 and I can see why. With the ash running through, the smooth texture, and the light and mildly goaty flavor produces a very unique and delicious cheese.

Additional Resources