Cypress Grove, producer of Purple Haze, Ms. Natural, and Herbs de Humboldt, has two new trippy variations in its soft goat cheese collection: PsycheDillic and Sgt. Pepper. Perhaps there's something other than grass for cattle growing in Humboldt County that spawns these ideas?
You need to like dill to like this PsycheDillic: Dill pollen and dried dill leaves are dusted across the disk of fresh goat cheese to create an intense note of, you guessed it, dill. Cypress Grove founder Mary Keehn calls it "dill squared."
"The pollen has a depth of flavor that you just can't get using dried dill alone,"she says.
The Sgt. Pepper is covered with chili threads and a mix of black pepper, New Mexico and California chili powders, and cayenne powder. Slicing into it interlaces the threads with the cheese. A hit of heat is the first thing you notice, and the warmth lingers pleasantly after the cheese is done. If chèvre and hot sauce had an affair, this would be their bastard child.
One complaint, universal to soft cheese in tight plastic packaging, is that it's almost impossible to remove the cheese without damaging its appearance. It tastes the same, but it's a less compelling presentation on a party platter. Plastic interacts with cheese in an unpleasant way, and cheese makers know it, but marketing often wins out as consumers want to see what they're buying.
The new flavors will be available in mid-September for $6.49 for a 4-oz. disk at Whole Foods, Rainbow Market, Bi-Rite, Say Cheese, Andronico's, and Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building. A "Flashback Six Pack" of all five varieties (the Purple Haze is doubled up) will be available exclusively at www.cypressgrovechevre.com for $75, including shipping and handling.