Cheese of the Week #2: Cypress Grove Chevre's Purple Haze
This week, I came home with a goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata, Ca. Since last week's cheese was pretty straightforward in flavor, I decided to try somthing a little less traditional. I found this in CGC's Purple Haze, a five ounce chevre round dusted with fennel pollen and lavender. The lavender made me wary, as I know that it can be very dominating when incorporated with other foods. It actually turns out to be the fennel that dominates this cheese though, and I do mean dominates. In a good way, I think. The first bite immediately reminded me of Italian sausage because of the intense floral-fennel flavor. There was an occasional hint of lavender, but mostly, just the fennel. I'm now curious to try one of their unflavored cheeses, as I'm not really sure what the cheese itself tastes like. Still, I'm happy with this cheese. Most of the other people that tasted it seemed to like it as well. When I buy it again, chances are it will be to set out at a party of some sort, as it seems, to my mind at least, to lend itself to that. I think the assertive, floral flavor would probably stand up to mingling, distraction, and other flavors. Really, this seems to be a case where the cheese, albeit a high quality one, is a vehicle for other flavorings. It think that's ok.
As for texture, this cheese was spreadable from the start, and only became more so as it came up to room temperature. Again, probably good to serve on a platter. In comparison, it wasn't nearly as buttery as last week's camembert-style cheese, although it had a similar meltingly soft mouth feel, almost like ice cream if you could divorce the texture from the temperature.
With it, I drank a glass of Saxo, a Belgian blond ale from Caracole breweries. Equally assertive, Saxo had strong, very crisp carbonation and slight apple-y character that reminded me of a hard cider. Also a keeper.