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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’re so excited to sponsor the 2022 StarChefs Rising Star Awards! The awards celebrate up-and-coming industry professionals who are trailblazing the contemporary American dining scene. Meet Rachel, an incredible baker and one of our phenomenal culinary partners from Charlottesville, VA, who participated in StarChefs D.C-Chesapeake. Read on to hear from Rachel herself, then stay tuned for Rachel’s exclusive recipe featuring our flagship soft-ripened goat cheese, Humboldt Fog!

Name: Rachel De Jong
Bakery: Cou Cou Rachou
City: Charlottesville, VA
Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

What is cheese’s role in a meal?
Oh, boy – what a tough question! For a meal, I love starting or ending with cheese (or both!!). As a Francophile, I’m an earnest lover of aperitifs and their food accompaniments. There’s not a whole lot better than a cheese board and it can be such a perfect way to set your palette for the meal to come (or, be a meal itself!!).

What’s your favorite unexpected way to use cheese?
As a baker, I love using cheese as an anchor for pastries. It can add such depth of flavor and texture – can be the star of the pastry or supporting character. I always have a fun cheese in our petite quiches, which change daily. Lately it’s been some variations of roasted leeks/spring onion with a local fresh goats cheese and pea shoots.
Also, I think this counts – I love using mascarpone to set whipped cream/chantilly for frosting cakes or finishing desserts. Adds a lovely flavor and stability!

Favorite food memory?
Well, all this talk about cheese and hors d’oeuvres has me thinking a lot about my Grandma and Mom’s style of entertaining (Gram has 7 kids, my mom has 5). Even if it were just family, added friends, or a party, we always had a huge appetizer hour (or two). It was not rare for Thanksgiving dinner to start after 10pm because we were just enjoying each other, cooking, and snacking. It was always so carefree and joyous – so many of my warmest memories are from those evenings – and probably had such a huge influence on my career choice.

Culinary secret weapon?
Citrus and salt! Neither are revolutionary, but I think they are two things that have become my signature with pastry and desserts. I don’t like for sweets to be overly sweet, and I love the bright and floral nature of adding citrus.

Hometown favorite restaurant or food?
This isn’t specific to Charlottesville, or even Virginia, but I do have a Southeastern soft spot for corn grits. Every Christmas morning we have grits and country ham, and they’re always on my Waffle House order 😉

Favorite Cypress Grove cheese — personally, and in the kitchen?
Oh, gosh another tough question! I’d have to say Humboldt Fog for both. It was the first one of Cypress Grove’s I tried, and I really feel like it was a door-opener for me in the world of cheese. As I mentioned above, this is a great example of a cheese that can really hold its own in a dish, or play off flavors that are more prominent. We recently featured it on our French onion croissant and I love that it matched the savory sweet nature of caramelized onions.

We’d love to hear the inspiration behind the recipe you developed with Cypress Grove cheese!
Ah, well, as I just noted we featured Humboldt Fog on our French onion croissant. I’d always loved the cheese but hadn’t used it much in recipes – it’s just so good on its own. I was a little worried about how it would pair with the danish and all that it has going on – for the filling, we caramelize onions and accent with white wine, bay leaf, black pepper, thyme, and malt or wine vinegar. But, it was so lovely and added a smokey, balanced sweetness and depth – truly grounded the brightness of the onion

And now — click here for Baker Rachel’s French Onion Croissant with Humboldt Fog recipe!

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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