You know it’s a good day when a Rivers Edge Chèvre shipment arrives. True Love, Up in Smoke, Peony, Sunset Bay, and Pave Yaquina Bay all make my case happy.
This is not just because they are fine examples of a spring cheese by virtue of being soft goat cheeses that were, until about a month ago, unavailable. (Although that certainly adds to the excitement.)
For the first winter, there were no Rivers Edge cheeses in the case after November. Although the farm had usually spaced out the births of baby goats, this year the bucks had gotten loose and impregnated every single doe they have. So because there were so many babies brewing, there was no milk to make cheeses. And then came springtime, and a flood of baby goats, and finally, cheese.
Rivers Edge makes wonderful cheeses. They are delicious. They are beautiful. They come packaged like little gifts. Opening a shipment is the cheesemonger’s equivalent of a YouTube beauty blogger’s makeup unboxing.
These cheeses are made for storytelling.
Some of them tell the story of the terroir from where they come. Humbug Mountain, Yaquina Bay, Siltcoos, Sunset Bay, and Siletz River are all places in Oregon–and cheeses made by Rivers Edge.
Sunset Bay is also a beautiful reminder of cheesemaker Patricia Morford’s own story, as she purchased her first buck from Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove. Sunset Bay looks a lot like Humboldt Fog, and I have often heard that the ash-coated bloomy-rind chevre with a smoked paprika line through its center is Pat’s homage to Cypress Grove.
Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know. But what is true is that Sunset Bay can very much hold its own against Humboldt Fog.
And what about True Love, the aged goat crottin coated with rose petals, lavender, and jasmine to replicate a wedding bouquet. That’s something to talk about with an intrigued cheese lover–the perfect pairing for a romantic date, a bridal platter, or an anniversary dinner, perhaps.
And then there’s Up in Smoke, the soft, smoked chèvre nugget wrapped in a bourbon-misted maple leaf. It’s one of those show-stopper cheeses for your cheese plate: set it down, unwrap the leaf and lay it out, and you have an instantly beautiful presentation. You don’t even need to have other cheeses to surround it.
I recently tried the Pave Yaquina Bay (pronounced: “pahv yuh-kine-uh bay”) for the first time. Not only is it a precious little pave, but it is beautiful with green peppercorns studded within a chalky center surrounded by an oozy creamline. It is not so different in conception from Peony, a small wheel that looks like Sunset Bay on the outside but is flecked with pink peppercorns on the inside–but the two peppercorn cheeses are different enough that you must try them both.
All of the cheeses that Pat and her daughters make are so lovable, and so good, that a cheesemonger cannot help but get excited when they show up in her shop. Likewise, cheese buyers should be stoked to see them in the case (and put them in their mouths!).