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Humboldt Fog - where in Greater Boston?

Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 09:48 AM

General Chowhounding Topics has a great on-going thread entitled "Favorite Cheese?". Presently, it has 113 posts and rising. The clear winner, so far, seems to be Humboldt Fog.
I've never tasted, heard or seen it, he said with much chagrin. Can someone help a Hound out and direct me to a source(s), preferable in the Metro-West? TIA

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  1. limster RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 09:51 AM

    Whole Foods on Cambridge Street in Boston almost always stocks it. I suspect that other WFs in the area would too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: limster
      Rubee RE: limster Feb 18, 2007 10:16 AM

      Yes, that's where I've bought it too.

      1. re: limster
        Sgt Snackers RE: limster Feb 18, 2007 03:34 PM

        Was at Whole Foods in Cambridge - River St today and they have it too.

      2. galleygirl RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 12:11 PM

        Yes, and of course, the Newton, Newtonville and Framingham branches will have it too, to be more metro-west centric...

        3 Replies
        1. re: galleygirl
          LindaWhit RE: galleygirl Feb 18, 2007 12:18 PM

          As does the Woburn Whole Foods. I also am *pretty* sure I've seen it at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, but it's been awhile since I've been there, so I could be wrong.

          1. re: LindaWhit
            okra RE: LindaWhit Feb 21, 2007 09:51 AM

            I was there at lunchtime today, I asked, and they do not carry it. For the record, the Comte that I did buy there was wrapped in plastic - not that I'm complaining... :)

            1. re: okra
              tallullah RE: okra Feb 21, 2007 10:59 AM

              They carry it, but are currently out of it. It's been featured at some of the cheese classes Robert does.

        2. hotoynoodle RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 12:21 PM

          whole foods, yup, and formaggio south end sometimes.

          1. jdubboston RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 12:48 PM

            Also look for their Midnight Moon and Mt. Mckinley cheeses if you can find them. Incredible! They do sell from their website, although you definitely get killed for the FedEx shipping - but that's the way I used to get it before it was available locally.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jdubboston
              Harp00n RE: jdubboston Feb 20, 2007 12:44 PM

              Thanks for the additional recs :-)

            2. w
              winedude RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 01:49 PM

              I bought a wedge of it last week at the new cheese shop in Roslindale Center.

              1. w
                winedude RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 01:50 PM

                And, in Metro-West, I'm nearly positive they sell it at Wasik's Cheese Shop in Wellesley, which is an all-round great cheese shop as well.

                1. Harp00n RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 03:20 PM

                  Thanks to you one & all!

                  1. enhF94 RE: Harp00n Feb 18, 2007 04:34 PM

                    Not near you, but Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville stocks it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: enhF94
                      Food4Thought RE: enhF94 Feb 20, 2007 05:25 PM

                      Yup they have it $17.99/ lb.

                    2. Harp00n RE: Harp00n Feb 20, 2007 04:58 PM

                      Picked up a 1 lb. piece after work today at Whole Foods in Wayland.
                      My wife & I love Stilton but I gotta say; OMG!
                      This cheese, Humboldt Fog, really is something special.
                      The combination of cream, tang and a slight hint of lemon is wonderful.
                      Thanks for the turn-on Hounds :-)

                      1. c
                        cheesemonger RE: Harp00n Feb 20, 2007 05:37 PM

                        Or, rather than shop at a chain, you can be a friend to small biz and try Formaggio's Kitchen in Cambridge. And it's likely in much better condition that suffocating at WF, and you can taste it before you buy, as you always should at good cheese shops.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: cheesemonger
                          Harp00n RE: cheesemonger Feb 20, 2007 06:15 PM

                          Well, in fact, I did get to sample it first. I'm certainly familiar with Formaggio's and, when in the area, have purchased things there in the past. I don't profess to be a cheese expert, ales yes, and I have no idea what "suffocating at WF" could possible mean.

                          1. re: Harp00n
                            winedude RE: Harp00n Feb 21, 2007 04:43 AM

                            I'm sure that by "suffocating at WF" the cheesemonger is referring to their practice of wrapping the cheese in cellophane, which is frowned on by cheese lovers. True cheese shops, like Formaggio's and Wasik's in Wellesley wrap the cheese in a waxed paper, which allows it to breathe a bit, helping the flavor and texture.

                            1. re: winedude
                              BJK RE: winedude Feb 21, 2007 05:16 AM

                              Every time I've seen Humboldt Fog at Whole Foods it has been in the glass case with the other uncovered cheeses.


                              1. re: winedude
                                ginnyhw RE: winedude Feb 21, 2007 05:35 AM

                                I bought a piece of Humboldt Fog at WF on River St last year, after having it at a funeral reception (!) and learning the cheese plate was from WF but not knowing the name of the cheese. Anyway, WF had it in it's own domed container - open at the top with a cheesecloth cover- and I was given a sliver to taste. I didn't know what it was called at the time, but as it is a fairly distinctive looking cheese, I was able to find it. I remember the person who waited on me was quite knowledgable and pleasant. I almost didn't buy it when I heard the price but she was willing to cut a small amount. I don't routinely pay that much for cheese and probably wouldn't have gone to an expensive cheese shop looking for it.

                                1. re: ginnyhw
                                  Harp00n RE: ginnyhw Feb 21, 2007 06:34 AM

                                  I had the exact same experience with the young man who waited on me at WF. The cheese was also stored just as you described it. I love supporting locally owned businesses & trades people and do so at every opportunity. But I don't think I need to nor will I feel guilty, after an hour's commute, of not adding additional hour, after all is said & done, to schlep in to Cambridge on a workday.

                                  1. re: Harp00n
                                    winedude RE: Harp00n Feb 21, 2007 09:37 AM

                                    I think what you're saying is completely reasonable, and I do the same as you. I'll go to some lengths to get a proper cheese from a local business, but I'm grateful that WF has so many excellent cheeses in more convenient locations. Also, I don't find the practice of wrapping cheese in plastic to be that bad, as long as it's not the types of cheese you find at Shaw's or Stop & Shop, that has been wrapped for months.

                                    1. re: winedude
                                      Harp00n RE: winedude Feb 21, 2007 02:47 PM

                                      Thanks for the feedback winedude. For the the record, as ginnyhw stated above, this wasn't wrapped in plastic. It was a domed hard plastic container, on the top of which was a cheese cloth cap that let the cheese breathe.

                                      I did duly note that the Wine & Cheese Cask, thanks to Food4Thought's posting, is exactly $2.00 lb. less than the $19.99 I paid. (ouch!)

                                      1. re: winedude
                                        galleygirl RE: winedude Mar 4, 2007 06:44 AM

                                        For the record, WF wraps their many of their cheeses in plastic wrap because customers don't want to wait to be served, and want to "grab and go". After doing demos in a bunch of their cheese departments (for other specialty products, not for WF), I can tell you that they will cut any cheese, wrap it as you request, and let you sample anything there...

                              2. re: cheesemonger
                                jjbourgeois RE: cheesemonger Feb 21, 2007 07:07 PM

                                I second Formaggio Kitchen. They know how to take care of their cheese. Whole Foods, while good for some items, isn't a place you would want to buy cheese.

                              3. r
                                Redhohoho RE: Harp00n Feb 22, 2007 09:47 AM

                                Don't forget about Mark at Russo's.. he worked at Formaggio for 11 years until Russo's scooped him up. They have an amazing cheese selection and Mark is free w/ the samples.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Redhohoho
                                  BostonZest RE: Redhohoho Feb 22, 2007 06:23 PM

                                  When are you finding him on duty? I would love to go in when he is there. I haven't run into anyone with more than a pure service interest so far at the Russo's cheese counter. They will try to answer questions and will cut smaller pieces but the passion and insider tips have been missing.

                                  1. re: BostonZest
                                    Redhohoho RE: BostonZest Feb 26, 2007 10:03 AM

                                    We shop on Sundays and he is always there..if you don't see him (tall guy w/ mustache that is salt and pepper) just ask one of the others if Mark is there. He really knows his stuff...

                                2. i
                                  iss RE: Harp00n Feb 22, 2007 11:01 AM

                                  MMMM...love the fog....they sell it at the new cheese counter at Danish Pastry House on the Somerville/Medford line, behind Tuft's University. Too far for Harpoon, I'm guessing, but other hounds might like to know.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: iss
                                    Aromatherapy RE: iss Feb 22, 2007 11:26 AM

                                    Cheese counter? Do tell. Is it large?

                                    1. re: Aromatherapy
                                      iss RE: Aromatherapy Mar 7, 2007 11:53 AM

                                      Yes, there's a cheese counter at Danish Pastry house now. I think they added it about two months ago. It's a small but smart selection. I'd guess there's about 2 1/2 dozen cheeses in a glass case out front and a few also in the back, they'll tell you about. They seem to be stored properly. They offer a tasting plate with any cheeses of your choice, so we gave a little guidance about what we like generally but asked to be surprised. We wound up with Tete de Moine (monk's head), which was a fabulous, silky mountain cheese with the good strong flavor you want in a gruyere but without the bite. Also got a nice slice of Humboldt fog and I simply can't recall the third cheese, which I enjoyed, but was not as much a stand out as the others. With fruit and french bread it came to $9 (they charge by the pound) and was more than enough for us (two people) to nibble while there and then have another generous portion of again after dinner that evening. The woman who helped us was very knowledgable. It's definitely a nice alternative to the usual cafe snacks, and a quick spot to pick up cheeses for home (prices seem to be on par w/ Formaggio's).

                                      1. re: iss
                                        Aromatherapy RE: iss Mar 7, 2007 03:03 PM

                                        Thanks! Not being much of a sweets person, I seldom stop by. Next time I need to visit the terrific old-fashioned hardware store across the street...

                                    2. re: iss
                                      BJK RE: iss Feb 22, 2007 11:59 AM

                                      That's an interesting and unexpected addition to the Danish Pastry House.


                                    3. b
                                      Baber RE: Harp00n Feb 25, 2007 08:26 PM

                                      While youre at either place pick up some stonewall kitchen roasted garlic and herb jam.

                                      That + humbolt fog on a rare burger with just sauteed onion and fresh tomato?

                                      Freakin awesome.

                                      1. BobB RE: Harp00n Feb 26, 2007 09:11 AM

                                        OK, so after reading all this I went and bought a hunk of Humboldt Fog yesterday (at Wine & Cheese Cask, natch, saved a few cents), had it with fresh crusty Clear Flour sourdough and some decent Chianti last night while watching the Oscars. Pleasant, yes, certainly one of the better fresh goat cheeses I've tasted, but cheese of the year? Gimme a break! Maybe it's just too subtle for my jaded palate. I'll take any number of other cheeses (Explorateur, aged farmer's gouda, gorgonzola dolce, to name just a few) over this stuff any day.

                                        I know, I know, just my opinion, and it leaves more for the rest of you. But I just don't get the buzz.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: BobB
                                          LindaWhit RE: BobB Feb 26, 2007 09:57 AM

                                          I don't think anyone called it "cheese of the year" - we were just saying it's a good cheese and where to get it for the OP!

                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                            BobB RE: LindaWhit Feb 26, 2007 11:47 AM

                                            It's not mentioned here but the producers tout it on their Web site, apparently they won some big award for it.

                                            1. re: BobB
                                              Harp00n RE: BobB Feb 26, 2007 12:56 PM

                                              .......depending on your driving habits, mileage may vary.

                                          2. re: BobB
                                            BostonZest RE: BobB Mar 4, 2007 04:45 AM

                                            Where was the cheese in it's ripening cycle and how long did you keep it at room temperature before you tried it?

                                            I think this is a cheese that is much better when perfectly ripe and out for at least a couple of hours before you enjoy it.

                                            Perhaps you did find a perfectly ripe one and left it and it is just not the cheese for you. But, if you have any doubts about the state of your fog-- try it again.

                                          3. b
                                            blacknbleu RE: Harp00n Feb 26, 2007 10:04 AM

                                            as an aside, the cheese is referred to as a fog because the evening milk is the start of the cheese (the bottom layer), then it is covered in the ash of that nights fire (presumably) ..then topped with the next mornings milk.. hence the allusion to fog. Interesting? not really. Too much time on my hands.

                                            1. b
                                              byrdhouse RE: Harp00n Mar 4, 2007 01:55 AM

                                              As longtime residents of Humboldt County, we are thrilled to see Humboldt Fog treated so kindly. But we don't even think it is Cypress Grove's best cheese. Ask your retailer to order Pyramid, which is a small, more delicate cheese, reminiscent of "baby goat" cheeses we had at a French 1-star. No ash, but a thin tangy rind that gives way to the creamy interior. For those who thing they don't like goat cheese, there's Mount McKinley, a firm paté cheese with ash, a delicate tang and slightly walnut dry finish. Both are more French in style and complexity. We often include one of these in our salads, using a fruit parer to slice thin slices. Still more options, inclding a goat cheddar and a sheeps milk cheese can be found online at http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/

                                              France spoiled us for olive oils with aroma and flavor, and we aren't even able to get the same level from Trader Joe's. But there is an olive oil called Olinda Mount Shasta MB (Master Blend) that's as good as the tins we lugged back from Paris, and we use it exclusively to give richness to salads. When we make our own pasta, all we put on it is MB, salt and pepper...addictive! http://www.olindaridge.com/store/oliv...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: byrdhouse
                                                olindaridge RE: byrdhouse May 4, 2008 03:43 AM

                                                Thanks for the tip on Pyramid...will look for it. I do love Humboldt Fog though! I always look forward to ordering it at the "Artisanal" bistro in New York City, which focuses on cheese and has it's own cheese shop inside. I think I also saw it at Whole Foods, but I can't be sure.

                                                Also, I'm glad to see you like the bold taste of Olinda Ridge Master Blend, which is a product in my company! The link above is out-of-date. Here's the updated URL:

                                                Enjoy! Antonella

                                              2. liuliuliu RE: Harp00n Oct 5, 2007 07:54 PM

                                                i just also spotted it at dave's fresh pasta near davis square! a huuuuge hunk of it :) for the record, it's also a great place to find a good selection of various cheeses. there's also superfresh local mozzarella and a very tasty fresh smoked mozzarella.

                                                Dave's Fresh Pasta
                                                81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                1. guineverek RE: Harp00n May 4, 2008 11:54 AM

                                                  I buy my Humboldt Fog at WF at Derby Street in Hingham for any South Shore Hounds who enjoy it. It's under glass, not in plastic, cut to order, and always fabulous!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: guineverek
                                                    Debbiedoesfood RE: guineverek May 7, 2008 02:23 PM

                                                    I too am a former Humboldt County resident (strange to find ANY others in Boston!) and I do love Humboldt Fog. I find it to be a wonderful standard. the creamy texture to me is fab.

                                                    as a note, when I have gone into Formaggio, either one, and I ask for it the often roll their eyes and scuff. then offer something they consider to be better as to say Humboldt fog is not good enough to be in this store. I have never been able to actually get it in their store.

                                                    I always take they suggestion of the alternative and I do always enjoy it.

                                                    however there are times when my cravings scream Fog with a great baguette, minus the snotty attitude that presume I dont know a thing about cheese

                                                    1. re: guineverek
                                                      Science Chick RE: guineverek May 8, 2008 07:50 AM

                                                      Yes, I get it at the Newton WF stores....always under glass and cut to order. It is our favorite special occasion cheese!

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