American Cheese Month may have come to a close, but November brings exciting cheese news of its own — the annual release of Rush Creek Reserve, from Uplands Cheese Company, Wisconsin.
Cheesemaker and new owner Andy Hatch created this spruce-wrapped cheese as a way to use the farm’s milk after their cows had moved from grass to hay. While we call this a winter cheese, Hatch actually begins to make this cheese in August to ensure the first batches are ready by the end of October. So while the ones in the stores now may be grass-fed, the cheese is young enough (aged the minimum 60 days required by the FDA for raw milk cheese) that the flavors of the pasture don’t really develop. Instead, this cheese tastes of pure cream and beef fat.
It’s important not to serve this cheese right from the fridge, but to allow it to sit at room temperature for at least an hour and preferably two before serving so it will be nearly liquid. Cut open and gently peel back the lid, then dig in with a spoon, crackers, dried mango &/or fresh pear slices.
Rush Creek is best served with sparkling wine, an effervescent Belgian-style beer or my personal favorite, a dry cider. And for a really fun treat, try it baked:
Simply place the cheese on foil on a baking sheet. Open the lid, pour in a little champagne, and close the lid. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with boiled new potatoes, roasted Brussels sprout, cured meats and slices of baguette. And the rest of that champagne, of course.
Here’s a look back at the making of Rush Creek from our 2011 visit to Uplands.
Bonus chance to enter our American Cheese Month giveaway: comment below &/or on our Facebook page with your favorite American cheese discovery of the month. A winner will be selected after 11:59pm Eastern time, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.