Arcata, CA-based Cypress Grove, launched Fog Lights, its newest addition to the award-winning Humboldt Fog family of cheeses, last summer in response to a rapidly changing market.
“We heard our customers’ need for retail-ready, grab-and-go cheeses, and we rallied our teams to develop and launch Fog Lights in just a few short months,” says Janne Rasmussen, Cypress Grove’s marketing manager. “We were able to flip the lights on quickly by capitalizing on some of the innovation already achieved during our Little Giant product trials, which was still in development at the time, and apply them to Fog Lights.”
Introduced in March of this year, Little Giant is a bloomy goat cheese described as smooth, buttery and delicate. This bright, fudgy cheese has subtly sweet, yeast-like flavors reminiscent of bread fresh out of the oven, along with mushroomy notes that intensify as the cheese ages. Its downy-white rind is edible, similar to a brie, and Little Giant continues to ripen from the outside in as it ages.
When Fog Lights was first developed around 2010, Cypress Grove hadn’t yet cracked the code on small format soft-ripened cheese moisture control throughout shelf life, and it was discontinued soon after.
“Over a decade has passed since then, and we have run many trials and stumbled upon a few innovations along the way; we were able to apply those learnings to Fog Lights, along with a fine-tuned recipe,” Rasmussen says. “Many trials later for different items, we were happy to re-introduce an improved and reimagined version of the Fog Lights.”
The name Fog Lights is a connection to Humboldt Fog, Cypress Grove’s flagship soft-ripened cheese that is sold as a 5-pound wheel. However, this cheese is quite demure in size compared to Humboldt Fog, clocking in at only 6 ounces.
“So, the name Fog Lights felt appropriate to make a connection to Humboldt Fog while playing with the cheese’s petite size,” Rasmussen says.
It has a similar flavor profile to Humboldt Fog — bright and citrusy, but a bit earthier and more dense and fudgy. Also similar to its namesake, Fog Lights is ash covered and mold ripened, but because of its small size, Fog Lights does not have the classic ribbon of black ash through its center.
Fog Lights is best paired with sundried tomatoes and a fresh baguette, then washed down with Sauvignon Blanc or an IPA.
“We also love Fog Lights with Castelvetrano olives, seeded crackers, sparkling wine and, if we’re being honest, just a fork,” Rasmussen says. “Its small size also makes it a perfect cheese for topping a salad, soup or crostini with a small wedge for a big impact.” It is is available in limited distribution nationwide as well as through Cypress Grove’s online store.