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Ever wondered how cheesemongers became, well, cheesemongers? Join us as we spotlight cheesemongers from cheese shops nationwide—covering everything from cheese tips to favorite pairings.⁠

First up is Philip Jison of Lady and Larder located in Los Angeles, CA. Check out how Philip got into cheesemongering, his favorite pairings, cheese tips and more below.

How did you first become interested in cheese and the industry? Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I moved back to LA a few years ago and found my way working part time for the California Cheese Trail. I vividly remember that feeling after my first phone call with Vivien. I was like “How darn cool this is”. I just remember wanting that opportunity desperately. Never ever in my life did I ever once think that I would find myself in the world of cheese.  After working with and learning about all the amazing local California cheesemakers, I knew my next step was to learn more. That’s what led me to Lady & Larder, where I’ve been for the past 4 years!

What are a few questions you wish customers would ask you?
This is more of a general wish for everybody visiting a cheese counter, please don’t be shy to taste/sample any cheese that you are curious about! You really won’t know if you’ll like it until you try it. You might not like one cheese the first time and then love it the next time you try it!
Any cheese tips/hack you want to share?
Enjoy cheese at room temperature!

What’s your favorite way to pair or use Humboldt Fog?
Almond toffee dark chocolate by Valerie Confections

As you know April is the month of Humboldt Fog, so we want to hear from you, what’s your Humboldt Fog Feeling? 
I compare it to that expression my two toddlers make when they have their first taste of ice cream for the week. Pure joy and just limitless excitement!

If you were a Cypress Grove cheese, which cheese would you be and why?
Other than Humboldt Fog, I would probably be PsycheDillic. Why not!


If you find yourself in Los Angeles, make sure to visit Lady and Larder in Santa Monica and say hi to Philip!

Throughout our partnership with StarChefs, we’ve had the joy of getting to know pioneering young chefs and bakers who are truly innovating in their spaces. In Denver, we spent some time with Clara Klein, a rising sommelier who is — to put it simply — just plain cool. At Sunday Vinyl, Clara finds new ways to bring relatability and approachability to the wine world by incorporating curated music into the pairing and drinking experience, adding a whole new dynamic and driving home Sunday Vinyl’s dedication to the connectivity of food, wine, and music.

And we were lucky enough to get Clara to participate in an exclusive Q&A and curate some delicious Cypress Grove cheese and wine pairings! You can learn more about Clara in her StarChefs profile here.

How does wine play with cheese?
Wine and cheese works so well for a multitude of reasons. Grapes are naturally acidic, have incredible texture when turned into wine and also add warmth from the alcohol. It fleshes out what cheese naturally does so well, which when you boil it down, is the interplay of rich cream and texture!

What’s your favorite unexpected way to use cheese?
Besides a little pocket-cheese snack? I love aged hard cheese with beef tartar. One of my favorite ways to enjoy!

Favorite food memory?
Nothing tastes better than a hot meal after a crazy night of service. I used to love hitting Zanes in Aspen late night for a greasy-spoon meal when I worked at The Little Nell!

Sommelier secret weapon?
A humble attitude! Wine is an intense world, so it is so important to be kind.

Hometown favorite dive bar?
Aspen Lodge Bar & Grill is in my neighborhood within Arvada, CO. The best part, they are an Iron Maiden and Christmas themed Bar. What more could you wish for?

Favorite Cypress Grove cheese — for solo eating and for pairing?
Solo eating: Midnight Moon. Pairing: Meyer Lemon + Honey, this just begs for Chenin Blanc!

We love how you incorporate music into the experience at Sunday Vinyl! What are your favorite three cheese, wine, and music pairings?
I am such a sucker for Comte + Mac Vin de Jura + Mac Miller. I mean mac attack time for sure! Also, Epoisse + Demi-Sec Chenin Blanc + Henri Texier. To me, this is just about as classy as it gets. Aged Gouda + Off Dry Riesling + West Coast Rap. This is a celebration of all things crunchy and hard hitting. High octane pairing!

We’d love to hear the inspiration behind the pairings you developed with Cypress Grove cheese!
I just considered what I would want to share with my family and friends. The holidays are a true celebration of the art of gathering! Essentially the Super Bowl of what we practice every day in the restaurant!

And now onto the pairings!

Clara curated these pairings with a particular holiday in mind, but the beauty is that they’re wonderful pairings for any holiday, event, or day that ends in “y.” The only rule is that there are no rules!

Meyer Lemon and Honey + Chenin Blanc
When entering the Thanksgiving state-of-mind, all I want to do is indulge with everything in sight. The acidity that drives Chenin Blanc is complemented by the Meyer lemon, offering a perfect antidote to all of those rich and gravy-heavy dishes. Goat Cheese and Chenin Blanc is a long time perfect pairing, basically a trip to the Loire Valley in France! Cypress Grove note: this pairing would also be delicious with Humboldt Fog!

DOMAINE DE BELLIVIÈRE | 2019, Chenin Blanc, “Les Rosiers,” Jasnieres | Loire, France

December holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah:
Truffle Tremor + Barbera

Truffles and December holidays instantly take me to Piedmont and the Festa di Tartufi! The umami richness of the truffle plays fiddle to the Sugar Plum Spice nature of the Barbera grape. Barbera, luckily, is one of the best party wines of all time as it is so friendly and juicy with a whisper of structure. Best of all, it plays especially well with complex cheeses!

VIETTI 2019 Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Scarrone” Piedmont, Italy

New Year’s Eve:
Midnight Moon + Champagne

Nothing is better than ringing in the New Year with a little kiss of Midnight Moon with a sip of rich Champagne! The buttery richness of the Midnight Moon stems from months of aging and begs for the same level of complexity from its bubbly companion. So opt for a Champagne that has a longer time left on its lees, or is bolstered by a good dollop of reserve wines.

PHILIPPONNAT MV, Pinot Noir Blend, “Royale Réserve” Brut, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France

“Why is goat milk more expensive than cow milk?” This is a question we hear from time to time, and if you’ve ever compared prices, you might have experienced some sticker shock — but there’s a good reason why goat milk products come at a higher price. Buckle your seatbelts — you’re about to learn a whole lot of goat facts!

The price of cheese in the marketplace can vary for numerous reasons: scale of production; season of the year; special production techniques; age and affinage; miles travelled to reach the consumer; and milk source. The four animals most widely known as the sources of milk for cheesemaking are cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo.

To understand why goat milk cheese is more expensive than cow milk cheese, consider the availability of the milk, the production process of the cheese, and the supply chain (or ‘path to market’).

Milk: Supply vs. Demand
As with cheese, the answer to this question starts with the milk. In the United States dairy industry, cows are king — or rather, queen. In 2020, there were nearly 9.4 million milk cows in the US, producing approximately 224 billion pounds of milk to fuel the cow milk dairy industry. Contrast that with goats: as of January 2021, there were 420,000 milk goats and kids in the US — about 4% the number of milk cows. Furthermore, goats are smaller animals that produce about 10% of the total milk output of cows. Demand for goat milk cheese has grown consistently over the past several years as consumers explore alternatives to cow milk, and goat cheese has become more commonplace. All of this points to the fact that there is less goat milk available in the US from which to make cheese, and high demand for it, leading to a higher price on the shelf.

Cow dairies also receive a substantial amount of funding and subsidies from the government and marketing support from state associations traditionally known as “milk marketing boards” or “milk advisory boards” (like Real California Milk and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, for example) while goat and sheep milk dairies are not included in such programs.

Cheese: Production and Aging
Another key factor in the cost of cheese is how it’s produced. Are traditional, artisan methods employed by a farmstead producer (i.e., a producer whose dairy is at the same physical location as their creamery)? Or is it a large-scale, high-tech operation that can achieve economies of scale? The number of employees involved (labor) and the time necessary to produce the cheese is key. Fresh cheeses that don’t require special production methods and extended aging will, in general, be less expensive than their aged counterparts. Cheeses that do require aging become more expensive because:

The Supply Chain
The miles a cheese must travel to reach the consumer, the number of times the cheese changes hands, and the work those hands must do all impact the final price of the cheese to the consumer. At retailers near our creamery in Arcata, Calif., our cheeses can sometimes be found at around half the price as they are on the East Coast!

Looking more closely at the supply chain, there are several factors that can drive up the cost of Humboldt Fog at the counter (spoiler alert, none of them are particularly sexy):

Ready for the quiz? Kidding! Thanks for following along and learning more about all of the factors that go into the price of goat milk and cheese — hopefully it’s given you a whole new perspective of the behind-the-scenes world of goats and cheesemaking, and some valuable information for your next trivia night, too.


USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Milk Cows, 2011-2020
USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service: Milk Production, 2011-2020
USDA, Sheep and Goats Report
Kamin, Charlotte & McElroy, Nathan: A First Course in Cheese (10)


We’ve partnered with Goldbelly!

To give you the best ordering experience possible, we’ve partnered with Goldbelly for all of your cheese needs. You’ll be able to order all of your Cypress Grove favorites via their website, and your order will still ship directly from our creamery.

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