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Lazy, Hazy Sunday Cheese

Cypress Grove Purple Haze cheese

As I have mentioned in nearly all my blogs thus far (I can’t help it we get really excited for warm weather in the northern states), we are headed into Spring and Summer. This means we are about to have a wealth of cheeses that are going to be in prime form. In particular, the goat cheeses really start to blossom this time of year due to the fact that the goats have more to choose from concerning their dining choices. Also to be kept in mind is that most goat cheeses do not need a long period to age because they are so delicious at a young, fresh age so when you buy them in summer you are really going to taste the characteristics associated with the location that the animals graze in.

As I pondered all of these things over the last week of warm weather, I knew I had an upcoming Sunday off (my favorite day to be off), and I knew I just needed to have cheese and fruit for lunch with a glass of wine while sitting on the patio with the sun shining. I also wanted to have something fresh, something whose flavors just ooze spring and summer. As I was standing at the wine table sampling (after work of course) it came to me… Cypress Grove Purple Haze Goat Cheese would be my Sunday cheese! It has won awards at the American Cheese Society Conference, the California State Fair, the U.S. Cheese Championship, and the World Cheese Championship. I quite often sneak a bite or two of their Humboldt Fog or Truffle Tremor when I need to cut it for a customer, and more often than not in doing so I convince myself to buy some for my cheese stash at home, but for some reason I often overlook Purple Haze. 

purple haze 1

Purple Haze with strawberries, Marcona almonds, and wine.

Cypress Grove is a California artisan goat cheese company located in Humboldt County in northern California. They were one of the first artisan goat cheese companies to develop commercial goat cheese production in the United States, and it may have been a slow start, but they are certainly flourishing now.  They have won too many awards to list here, but I assure you each award they have received was and is well-deserved. 

Purple Haze is a small, disk-shaped goat cheese that has lavender and wild fennel pollen rubbed on it, and it is also in the cheese.  What I really love about the lavender and wild fennel pollen is that even though you can see and smell the fact that it is a large part of the cheese, you do not just taste the lavender and fennel pollen, you also taste the actual cheese and you can taste that it is high quality, fresh goat milk that was used to create this masterpiece. There is a perfect balance that was struck between the clean, slightly acidic, tangy taste of the goat milk and the wild, springy flavors that come from the lavender and fennel pollen. It smells and tastes like Spring. It is creamy and yet has the perfect texture to allow for gently crumbling onto a classic summer salad of mixed baby greens, fresh berries (my favorite is strawberries), nuts, and a nice vinaigrette that is just lightly drizzled over everything.

purple haze cracker

A perfect bite of Purple Haze, strawberry, and pecan on a cracker.

purple plate 1

Drizzle honey of cheese for a special treat.

I did not make a salad this time, but rather paired this jewel on a plate with freshly sliced strawberries, fresh cantaloupe, pecans, and Spanish Marcona Almonds. I drizzled a local honey ever so lightly around the outer edge of the disk and let it ooze onto the plate and into the strawberries. I opened a Riesling and soaked in the sun as I delved into the fresh fruit and cheese. It was delicious!  The honey worked really well with the cheese and cantaloupe together. On its own I did not really like the cantaloupe with the cheese, but the honey just adds a tiny hint of sweetness that really helps elevate the flavors of everything and brings a little something special to the cantaloupe.

This is the perfect cheese for a warm spring day, or a cold day when you want to dream of spring, or an Easter cheese plate, and I am feeling adventuresome so I may even use Cypress Grove’s recipe to make Purple Haze Cheesecake!

Stay tuned for more thoughts on Easter cheese plate picks. Purple Haze will definitely be one of the cheeses on mine!

Help Crystal earn her CCP at the American Cheese Society conference this summer. Vote for Crystal.

Crystal Schroeder

Crystal Schroeder is what her friends and family like to call the “accidental” cheesemonger. She'd really love to say that her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology helps every day within her chosen career, but psychology has become her hobby and cheese has become her passion. For the last ten years at Sendik's Market in Wisconsin Crystal has loved being able to share the stories behind different types of cheese. Crystal loves how when you cut open a cheese and taste it you're transported to a different place, you taste the terroir, imagine pairing possibilities, and turn them into reality. Follow her @WICheese_Diva

31 thoughts on “Lazy, Hazy Sunday Cheese”

  1. Trevor says:

    Do you know of a good red wine that will compliment goat cheese? What about beer?

  2. Aaron says:

    If I wanted to have a Packers party, is there green colored cheese? I could make a green and gold cheese platter.

  3. Kay says:

    Is goat cheese pretty expensive? What does that one you wrote about cost for a pound?

  4. jen wright says:

    Great suggestion and read! On my list to try again!!

  5. Erin says:

    I can’t wait to try a new spring cheese! Cypress grove will be on my list for Easter brunch! Thanks Crystal!

  6. Dan says:

    Great suggestions, I will be using them in the future.

  7. Kristine says:

    Thanks for the info!

  8. Baxter says:

    I love goat cheese, but some of it is so bland, what kind of goat cheese has more flavor?

  9. Natalie says:

    What countries are most popular for their goat cheese-making abilities?

  10. Barb says:

    Mmmm! I love goat cheese. I’ll have to try your pairings, sounds delicious.

  11. Brittany says:

    This post makes me excited for nicer days, with wine and cheese on the patio!!

  12. Darci says:

    You got me intrigued by the addition of honey. Love honey and would not have thought to put it with cantaloupe which I will certainly keep an open mind.

  13. Mary says:

    Can’t wait for the sit-on-the-deck-with-wine-and-cheese weather to arrive! I’ll have to find some purple haze and try out a few local goat cheeses too!

  14. The Chip Team says:

    This is an excellent blog and it will help people with the pairings for the upcoming Easter holiday.

  15. Sarah says:

    Fantastic suggestions! And great photos!!!

  16. ashley says:

    Great ideas!

  17. Renee says:

    I don’t love goat cheese but this sounds really good! I think I might try it because I feel like the fact that it has other flavors going on might help me slowly ease into eating goat cheese.

  18. Crystal says:

    Jolynn- nutritionally speaking goat milk cheese is easier to digest because it has smaller fat globules than cow’s milk and it also has less lactose than cow’s milk.

  19. Tom says:

    Cheesecake has no equal

  20. Heather M. Schueller says:

    I will have to remember this. I want to try to it in the cheesecake.

  21. Nicole says:

    These are great ideas. I may have to try this

  22. Jolynn says:

    I’m curious to know more about the differences between cheese made from cow’s milk and cheese made from goat’s milk. Is there much difference nutritionally?

  23. chad says:

    Great ideas. Definitely going to check out Cypress Grove!

  24. Bob says:

    Sounds like a really good selection. May have to stop in for some for my Easter cheese plate!

  25. Angie Brody says:

    Great suggestions!

  26. Great ideas & the way you write about cheese makes drool. Good job.

  27. Nicole Simonson says:

    These are all great ideas, and good information. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Carrie says:

    You are really getting me close to coming out of my cheese shell.

  29. susan says:

    Cant wait to try it out!!

  30. Jim says:

    Sounds delicous! Love the pairing ideas!

  31. Marianne Nass says:

    Well, I know what I am having on Saturday and Sunday, thanks Crystal, always great suggestions.

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