Colleen’s not the only one enjoying a bark-wrapped beauty this week. Not only do I have a Rush Creek in my refrigerator (thanks, Song, for holding one for me last week!), I got a wonderful birthday surprise recently in the form of a Murray’s delivery box. My dear sisters (with some guidance from Colleen) sent me a couple of cheeses – Little Big Apple and one of Murray’s newest cheeses, Greensward. This fragrant round, named after the original moniker for New York’s plan for Central Park, may mature in Murray’s cave, but it gets its start on one of our all-time favorite farms, the one and only Jasper Hill.
In fact, you may look at Greensward and think, “Are you sure that’s not Winnimere?” I assure you it’s not, but you might say it’s Winni’s first cousin. Both cheeses are crafted from raw cow’s milk, soft-ripened and bark-wrapped, but then Greensward leaves the Jasper Hill nest to make its way to the big city, where it’s washed with Ithaca Beer Company’s Picnic Basket Ale. The beer and Greensward were first created for fancy-shamancy New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park. Luckily, the rest of us now benefit from that experiment.
But is Greensward as indulgent as Winnimere? Absolutely. I savored every spoonful of its oozy, creamy amazingness, reveling in the layers of flavor: rich milk fat, peaty smoke, marbled steak. You could follow Colleen’s example and bake it and drizzle the liquid-like paste over roasted vegetables or toast, but I just attacked my Greensward with a spoon. It’s the perfect cheese to curl up with by the fire on a drizzly (or, in my case, snowy) night. Grab a glass of pinot noir, bourbon or – obviously – a pale wheat ale and enjoy. Or send a round to someone you love for his or her birthday – it’s a gift no one will return.