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A Cheese by Any Other Name Smells as Sweet?


Humboldt Fog Cheese with fresh pears and a salad

While certainly the best part of cheese is the flavor itself—creamy, earthy, sharp, piquant, mellow, tangy, you name it—one of the more subtle yet still powerful foundations of a good curd is the name. A creamy, Northern Californian goat’s milk wheel with an ash line down the middle can be pretty darn tasty, but when labeled Humboldt Fog, it evokes the chilly bank of mist coming in from the Pacific and the distinct terroir that gives the cheese its impact. A French triple-cream wheel will melt in your mouth like nobody’s business, but when dubbed Brillat-Savarin, it harkens back to famous intellectual and gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and centuries of French innovation in food.

A name gives a cheese a story, in other words, so the naming of a cheese can hold profound importance. But how do you come up with a good name?

Luckily for you, dear readers, our very own culture cofounder and cheese lady extraordinaire Lassa Skinner stopped by Heritage Radio’s Cutting the Curd program to talk cheese names (and raw-milk cheese to boot!). As she puts it,
“A name like ‘Fat Bottom Girl’ doesn’t really tell you anything about the cheese, but it makes you smile and ultimately you will remember it.”

Take a listen!

Grant Bradley

Grant Bradley is culture's former web editor and never ceases to thank his nameless human ancestor who figured that leaving some milk around for a while and then eating it was probably a great idea. Raised on California’s Central Coast, educated in the Pacific Northwest, and transplanted to New England, Grant likes to write, edit, and code things.