California Cheese: The Ultimate Burger Toppers

June 17, 2014 | Posted by Charlotte March

Want to add a little west coast flair to your burger? Check out these delicious California cheeses!

When I met my husband-to-be, who was living in San Francisco at the time, I made a pledge that if he moved to Brooklyn for 2 years then I would happily relocate to the Bay Area after that. I never imagined he’d actually call my bluff. So, 2 years to the date that we signed our lease, Big Apple Movers knocked on the door of Apt 10C, started removing all of our worldly possessions, and ultimately schlepped them across 9 states to San Francisco’s Noe Valley. I was heartbroken. I missed just about everything in NYC, especially my family but even the filthy subways, wretched summer heat, and miserable winters. I found solace though in a big way: California Cheese.

California makes some of the worlds finest cheeses. It is really true that we have happy cows? Probably. I know I’m one after all of the countless ounces and pounds of pungent blues and smooth, decadent triple creams. The cheese makers out here are passionate and dedicated and produce so many different cheeses ranging from the basic to the sublime – many of which make the perfect, gooey, deliciously cheesy crown for your burgers this summer.

Here are some of my absolute, tried and true, best burger-topping California cheeses:


Andante Dairy Fresh Goat – an incredibly creamy and subtle fresh goat cheese. Crumble this on your burger right as it comes off the grill or spread on a lightly toasted burger bun and it will melt like butter.


Pt. Reyes Station Original Blue – a raw milk cow’s cheese with a heck of a lot of flavor. Perfect for recreating your own Bobby Blue Burger – just melt this cheese on your patty during the last minute or so of grilling, and then top with bacon, lettuce and tomato.


Fiscanli Bandaged Cheddar – it’s hard to find aged cheddar with this much flavor that will actually melt but this one does the trick! The cheese is wrapped in cloth, or bandaged, and aged in central California for a year and half before hitting the market.


Bellwether Farms Carmody – located in Sonoma County, Bellwether Farms has been making incredible sheep and cows milk cheeses for over 30 years. Similar to a young cheddar or jack, Carmody is a great melting cheese, but it has more complex flavor profile and is incredibly buttery thanks to the Jersey cows milk.


Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Goat - tangy flavor and a distinctive layer of edible vegetable ash are a prized combination in this iconic California cheese. Made with a combination of buttermilk and fresh cream, it would be a great swap in Bobby’s LA burger with the avocado relish and watercress.


Vella Pepper Jack – high moisture content makes this cheese the best melter of the bunch! This rich, creamy cheese is generously studded with both red and green New Mexico jalapenos adding a fair amount of kick and a lot of flavor.