Cheese: Midnight Moon
Who: Cypress Grove Cheese
Where: Arcata, CA*
Milk Type: goat, pasteurized
Shape: 9-11lb wheel
Flavor: brilliantly tangy, sweet and milky, mushroom
Mary Keehn’s goat herds and subsequent cheese making have made the operation a leader in American goat cheese for most of three decades. Her fresh Chevre logs, even fresher Fromage Blanc, the fabulous Purple Haze we reviewed earlier and the popular Humboldt Fog are widely available and worth seeking out.
However, this particular Chevre along with Cypress Grove’s Lamb Chopper are actually European cheeses. By the mid-1990’s the company had wanted to produce a firm, aged goat cheese yet they lacked the space for an aging that could prevent cross-contamination with their fresh cheeses as well as lacked the skills on staff to achieve what Mary Keehn envisioned in a finished aged Chevre.
They turned to a producer in the Netherlands that could meet their standards. After one year of aging, the result is a smooth, firm wheel with a light cream-colored paste with a toothsome, savory and very sharp bite with a lactic crystal crunch. It lingers in the mouth and demands savoring. Kapow! That about sums up the sharpness. I love the surprising blast of mouth-prickling tang followed by a lingering mushroomy creaminess.
On the cheese board this week we paired it with the failed Harbison and with Beemster Graskaas. Midnight Moon crushed them… the Graskaas was almost a water cracker in comparison… a respite from the sharpness of the Chevre.
What to drink with it: Cypress Grove recommends dry dessert wines including sherry and dry or sweet gewürztraminer; also Rhône reds, cab’s and zin’s. I’m itching to approach it like a good aged Parmigiano and pair it with my preferred northern Italian barbera & nebbiolo.
Cypress Grove has a Goat Pizza recipe featuring Midnight Moon.