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The secret life of cheese



Earlier this month, Cypress Grove registered a 10 on the local gourmet Richter scale after its new cheese, Truffle Tremor, won top honors at the International Fancy Food & Confection Show in New York City. I decided to write an article about the secret life of chèvre. The story was to be a hard-hitting (well, all right, maybe medium-soft) piece of investigative journalism: I was going to get to the bottom of how Cypress Grove invents and names its cheeses.

I imagined a room somewhere at the local cheese atelier where wordy cheese wonks hold court and bounce ideas off each other — a sort of chèvre think tank. So I called up Cypress Grove and said I wanted to talk to someone in the know and at the top. But the search for the truth turned out to be much harder than planned.

The owner was too busy to talk. The owner was on her day off, which is sacred and cannot be violated even in the name of the public’s need to know who’s naming names over at Cypress Grove. The weekend passed. I called again. The owner is in a meeting. I left a message on her answering machine. I got a call back from the guy in charge of publicity. Now isn’t a good time to talk, he said. Too many awards and international gatherings of big cheeses from fromageries around the globe.

Was it really Cypress Grove I was calling, or some front for the CIA? The Cheese Department of Homeland Security, maybe? I had even gone out in the name of research and bought a wedge of Truffle Tremor — the price alone was enough to make me weak in the knees.

But in the end, instead of discovering the secret of how Cypress Grove’s clandestine naming program works or what the next great cheese phenom will be to come from their hallowed cheesy halls, I was left in the dark. So I decided to come up with some possible future products on my own. That way, if Cypress Grove ever gets over the award they just won and finally stumbles out of the Humboldt Fog of victory, they’ll have the option of outsourcing their cheese creation to me. As for whether I’ll be available for comment when they call, I haven’t decided yet.

Klamath Calamity: This vintage extra dry cheese has been aged since 2002. A certain portion of the goats on our family farm are fed only wild North Coast salmon, which gives this cheese its savory Chinook undertones.

Pacific Lumber Log: Pacific Lumber Log is a 4-10 feet in diameter ripened log that’s perfect for company town gatherings. But dig in quick, because this cheese is sure to be clearcut from the table.

Trinidad Head: This bust of aged triple-cream goat cheese sculpted by hand in the likeness of Wilhelm von Humboldt is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next botany department potluck.

Pelican Bay Ball: The Pelican Bay Ball is a perfectly spherical, extra-hard cheese that comes with a souvenir sterling silver chain. It’s perfect for bringing to loved ones behind bars and an extra special treat for conjugal visits.

Crescent City: This moon-shaped cheese is the perfect accompaniment for a romantic dinner for two up the coast. Its nondescript flavor that borders on delicious will almost transport your soul to a higher state.

PacifiCore: This is our newest cheese, and it’s the best dam one we’ve made yet. There is no rind whatsoever. Produced using hydroelectric power and a grant from Dick Cheney, we’ve managed to separate out only the rich creamy center of our trademark goat cheese. But PacifiCore is so hard to keep on the shelves, it may very well violate the Endangered Species Act.

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