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Rush Creek Reserve -- Remarkable Cheese

Rush Creek Reserve -- Remarkable Cheese
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  • Rush Creek Reserve -- Remarkable Cheese

    Post #1 - November 21st, 2010, 10:27 pm
    Post #1 - November 21st, 2010, 10:27 pm Post #1 - November 21st, 2010, 10:27 pm
    Rush Creek Reserve -- Remarkable Cheese

    Rush Creek Reserve is the second cheese made by the much-decorated Uplands Dairy in Wisconsin. The first and up-until-now only cheese made by Uplands is Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which has been the only cheese to win the American Cheese Society “Best of Show” more than once. Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve has, in fact, won that high recognition three times this decade, an unheard of achievement in cheese history.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only way you can buy this new cheese from Uplands is by the whole wheel. It is so runny, that to buy a cut piece off a wheel would mean most of it would run out before you got home.

    So I bought a wheel at Marion Street Cheese market (around $26) and we ate it by dipping pieces of crusty bread into an opening created by peeling back the rind, kind of like a room temperature fondue (I gave it almost two hours outside the refrigerator before eating, so it was liquid but viscous when we cut into it). Andy Hatch, the youthful creator of his cheese, suggests you eat it with a spoon, but that didn’t appeal to me as much as eating it off thin slices of Red Hen baguette.

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    It’s a remarkable cheese.

    Uplands is a dairy farm and a fromagerie. They trade heavily on the quality of their milk, which is typically grassy, as all cows are pastured, but unlike the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, this cheese is made from autumnal milk. In autumn, the cows are starting to eat hay, and the milk is higher in protein and fat.

    The first bite of this bloomy rind raw milk cheese gave up a lot of grassiness, slight acidity, but also a kind of meaty back-note, almost offal, which I realized on my last bite was most reminiscent of bacon. This porcine tang could be the result of the spruce bark the cheese is wrapped in (as is Vacherin, which this cheese resembles). This wood wrapping gives the cheese a slight smokiness (which we associate with pork) and it also serves the very practical purpose of keeping it together -- this is one loose fromage.

    The cheese has a very sophisticated, fungal earthiness and a lush, vanilla-ice cream like elegance, a soft, meaty mouth-filling richness that demands to be the center of attention. We ate our Rush Creek Reserve with the bread, a salad and a cup of veal consommé (which somehow seemed right for a cow cheese entrée). The cheese was at about 68 days when we ate it; it’s sold (by law) at 60 days, but I have to wonder what it would be like at, say, 28 days.

    It’s very cool to try a cheese in its first year of production, just above the legal selling point, which I feel is going to go down in the record books as one of the great ones, certainly one of the best that Wisconsin has to offer, which is saying a lot.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - November 22nd, 2010, 9:44 am
    Post #2 - November 22nd, 2010, 9:44 am Post #2 - November 22nd, 2010, 9:44 am
    Thanks DH - this sounds right up my alley, and I plan to get a wheel. How big are they? Trying to determine whether my wife and I can put one away for dinner, or if I should wait until we have company. Looks doable for 2 from the picture, but not entirely sure about the size of that plate or the bread slices.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #3 - November 22nd, 2010, 10:18 am
    Post #3 - November 22nd, 2010, 10:18 am Post #3 - November 22nd, 2010, 10:18 am
    Kennyz wrote:Thanks DH - this sounds right up my alley, and I plan to get a wheel. How big are they? Trying to determine whether my wife and I can put one away for dinner, or if I should wait until we have company. Looks doable for 2 from the picture, but not entirely sure about the size of that plate or the bread slices.


    Each wheel is about a pound, maybe a touch less. Lydia Burns, my favorite cheesemonger, said she knocked back a whole wheel with her boyfriend, so it's certainly possible for two to finish one, but we made it only about 70% of the way through before we decided to "save the rest for later." If you cut it the way we did, you can just fold the flap back over the exposed portion and it should keep for a while in the refrigerator.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #4 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:09 am
    Post #4 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:09 am Post #4 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:09 am
    Sold out as of 6:00 PM last night :(
    Very Cute Cheese Monger Lady said they should have more at the beginning of the new year.
  • Post #5 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:13 am
    Post #5 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:13 am Post #5 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:13 am
    zoid wrote:Sold out as of 6:00 PM last night :(
    Very Cute Cheese Monger Lady said they should have more at the beginning of the new year.


    I believe they got that shipment in last Friday. It's pretty surprising, given the strong flavor and relative expense, that people are buying the cheese so quickly.

    Uplands is shipping Rush Creek so it arrives on Day 60, and there may be some wisdom in getting it as soon as it arrives. As it ages, it gets runnier (which I like) but it loses some of its custardy aspects, which others might prefer.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:23 am
    Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:23 am Post #6 - November 23rd, 2010, 11:23 am
    Sold out in under 48 hours according to VCCML.
    This is going to be tough to get your hands on - when I asked about it the 5 or so people in the shop all got very attentive...
  • Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 12:04 pm
    Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 12:04 pm Post #7 - December 2nd, 2010, 12:04 pm
    zoid wrote:Sold out in under 48 hours according to VCCML.
    This is going to be tough to get your hands on - when I asked about it the 5 or so people in the shop all got very attentive...


    I heard on good authority that MSCM may be getting in more Rush Creek Reserve. Will post when I get details.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:19 pm
    Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:19 pm Post #8 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:19 pm
    Shipment of RCR arrived at Marion Street Cheese Market this morning. As of 2AM, they had only six left.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:21 pm
    Post #9 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:21 pm Post #9 - December 3rd, 2010, 3:21 pm
    David Hammond wrote:Shipment of RCR arrived at Marion Street Cheese Market this morning. As of 2AM, they had only six left.


    I got 2 at 9:30 am this morning.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #10 - December 3rd, 2010, 8:39 pm
    Post #10 - December 3rd, 2010, 8:39 pm Post #10 - December 3rd, 2010, 8:39 pm
    Stopped in at 6:00 - missed it again by 20 min. apparently :evil:
  • Post #11 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:45 pm
    Post #11 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:45 pm Post #11 - December 3rd, 2010, 10:45 pm
    zoid wrote:Stopped in at 6:00 - missed it again by 20 min. apparently :evil:


    I picked up one about then and they had two left. You are, indeed, unluckly.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - December 14th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    Post #12 - December 14th, 2010, 4:58 pm Post #12 - December 14th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    Recently, I lucked into tagging along on a daytrip to Uplands Farm with a few other LTHers. Pigmon had met Uplands' cheesemaker Andy Hatch at an event in Chicago and the 2 of them made a plan for a tour and lunch at the farm. For me, this was an incredible learning experience and a great instance of knowing the right people. Naturally, it was snowing pretty hard on the morning of the trip but after a brief moment of indecision, we decided to brave the elements and make the 200 mile drive to Dodgeville, WI. To say it was well worth it would be a huge understatement . . .

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    Uplands Farm - Dodgeville, WI


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    After we dropped off our stuff, Andy took us on a tour.


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    The cows at Uplands are not sheltered during the winter. Instead, they develop thick coats and live outside. It was quite a sight when the cows would all start running, as I'm just not accustomed to seeing such large animals moving so fast. Here, of course, they're just standing still. :wink:


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    First stop, the creamery, where the cheesemaking takes place.


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    Inside the door are several awards. Uplands' Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the only cheese to win the American Cheese Society's annual competition on more than one occasion. It's won the award 3 times.


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    Here, Andy explains the process of cheesemaking. At Uplands, cheese is only made from milk produced by their own cows. It's never brought in from outside sources. Additionally, Pleasant Ridge Reserve is only produced during months when cows are pastured (essentially May-October). Uplands rotates their cows on 6 separate pastures so that they always have fresh grass to eat during the cheesemaking season. On some days when Andy feels that the milk isn't quite right, it's sold off to neighboring cheese companies.


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    This steamjacket tank is where salt and enzymes are added to the milk to begin the cheesemaking process. The sides of the tank are steamjacketed and for Pleasant Ridge Reserve, the milk is cooked very slowly within it. The longer a cheese is cooked, the harder it ends up.


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    These harp knives are used to cut through the curds that form when rennet is added to the milk.


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    Cheesemaker Andy Hatch


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    The curds and whey are transferred to this tank, where they are pressed (via the large plate above) to separate the whey. The whey is pumped out and fed to the hogs on the farm.


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    The curds are then transferred to these forms and pressed via pneumatic force.


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    This is one of Uplands' cheese "caves," which is a temperature-controlled room (~55 F), which is mostly below ground level. Here, the forms are salted and then washed daily with various brine solutions, which helps the cheese first develop its rind and then its distinctive character. Each rack holds one day's entire production. Cheese isn't produced every day during the pasture season because sometimes the milk is just not up to the proper quality.


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    Pleasant Ridge Reserve at the beginning of its aging process


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    Pleasant Ridge Reserve at the beginning of its aging process


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    Pleasant Ridge Reserve at the beginning of its aging process


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    In the same "cave" as the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Rush Creek Reserve also ages. It's not cooked at all and because it's made with unpasteurized milk, the Government requires that it's aged for 60 days before it's sold.


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    This day's production of Rush Creek is a bit further along in the aging process.


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    The outer form is actually spruce bark, which imparts a lot of character into the cheese.


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    In another cave, older cheeses continue to age. Andy explained to us that there are 2 major points in the aging process when the flavor really evolves: at 7 months and 18 months (not entirely sure about those times but I think that's what he told us). The oldest cheeses produced at Uplands Farm are labelled as "extra aged." Here, the rack on the left is the 91st batch made during the 2009 season.


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    Andy explains how important regular tasting is to his art. Because of the way the cows are rotated from pasture to pasture, even cheeses made on consecutive days can have big differences in flavor, texture and appearance.


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    This device, know as a trier, is used to pull samples from wheels of aging cheeses.


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    Andy uses the trier to get samples of a cheese for us to taste.


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    Andy explains the fine art of tasting cheeses in order to determine how they are going to develop further in subsequent months of aging. It's not so much about that moment as much as it's about trying to determine where they're likely to head.


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    After each sample is drawn, a small plug is reserved, which subsequently gets placed back in the wheel.


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    After we taste several batches, Andy selects one for us to have with lunch.


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    Carving up the wheel into wedges


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    Pleasant Ridge Reserve happens to be one of my all-time favorite cheeses, so this was a very cool moment, seeing it sliced up by the man who actually makes it.


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    He also -- very generously -- wraps up a wedge for each of us to take home with us.


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    This is also the shipping counter so rolls of labels are at the ready.


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    We exit the creamery and continue our tour.


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    We're off to the barn.


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    The milking parlor.


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    Next, we head back to the house for lunch.


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    Waiting for us there are the still wines brought by Pigmon and the sparkling wine brought REB & RAB. A truly impressive array, in which I was so lucky to partake.


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    Andy cuts open a wheel of Rush Creek Reserve, which has been warmed in the oven.


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    We ate this delectably creamy cheese "fondue" style. Not shown here is the previously sliced-up Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which was also part of our lunch.


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    Hello there! :)


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    This apple pie, baked by Andy's wife Caitlin, was a phenomenal finish to our lunch.

    I'm grateful to our hosts and also to Pigmon for inviting me to tag along. I learned so much about cheesemaking from the man who makes one of my all-time favorites and I tasted some wines that I never in a million years would have had a chance to try. It really doesn't get any better than this. Wow, what a great day!

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #13 - December 14th, 2010, 5:17 pm
    Post #13 - December 14th, 2010, 5:17 pm Post #13 - December 14th, 2010, 5:17 pm
    Fantastic! It sounds like a wonderful experience. Thanks for documenting it.
    -Mary
  • Post #14 - December 14th, 2010, 5:23 pm
    Post #14 - December 14th, 2010, 5:23 pm Post #14 - December 14th, 2010, 5:23 pm
    Ronnie- Stunning. Just stunning photo post of your visit to Upland Dairy.

    I've already shared it with Mr.Pairs4life since he got to enjoy the Reserve alone (darn it, it ain't vegetarian rennet :x ). He just finished it beecause it is larger than what we normally get for the household and then he was the only one who could eat it.

    On a slightly different note, I just got a call from Pastoral saying they would not receive any Reserve until 2011. I'm so glad I had court in Maywood and that David posted that Marion Street had it. We gifted one of the two that I purchased.

    Cheers,
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #15 - August 23rd, 2014, 11:40 am
    Post #15 - August 23rd, 2014, 11:40 am Post #15 - August 23rd, 2014, 11:40 am
    Uncertainty over how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will rule in regards to a number of pending raw milk cheese regulations has claimed its first official victim: Rush Creek Reserve by Uplands Cheese near Dodgeville, Wisconsin. ... Uplands co-owner and lead cheesemaker Andy Hatch broke the sad news that he will not be making Rush Creek this year.

    "It's disappointing news, I know, and we hope that it's not permanent. Food safety officials have been unpredictable, at best, in their recent treatment of soft, raw-milk cheeses, and until our industry is given clear and consistent guidance, we are forced to stop making these cheeses," Andy said.

    Andy added it's not a decision he and his team came to easily. "Hopefully, our government officials will soon agree on how to treat traditional cheesemaking, and we can all return to the cheeses that are so important to us."

    ...

    "The FDA is currently reviewing the 60-day aging rule it imposed in 1949 on American cheesemakers making raw milk cheeses, with many academics speculating the rule will be increased to 90 or 120 aging days within the next year."


    - from the Cheese Underground blog
  • Post #16 - December 4th, 2015, 3:30 pm
    Post #16 - December 4th, 2015, 3:30 pm Post #16 - December 4th, 2015, 3:30 pm
    Update -- they've resumed production, and you can order it from their website right now:

    "Rush Creek Reserve - We're pleased to announce that after its 2014 hiatus, Rush Creek Reserve is returning in 2015. We will sell the season's first batches here on our website in early December, and we will continue taking orders until noon on Dec 21st, or until our limited supply runs out."


    Link to uplandscheese.com's order page
    YouTube promo (url now fixed)

    Also available at Fromagination in Madison, either for shipment or for pick up in the shop either 10 December or 17 December

    http://fromagination.com/product/rush-creek-reserve-cheese/

    Probably worth asking at your favorite local 'monger, too
    Last edited by phaseolus on December 5th, 2015, 10:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
  • Post #17 - December 4th, 2015, 3:40 pm
    Post #17 - December 4th, 2015, 3:40 pm Post #17 - December 4th, 2015, 3:40 pm
    phaseolus wrote:Update -- they've resumed production, and you can order it from their website right now:

    "Rush Creek Reserve - We're pleased to announce that after its 2014 hiatus, Rush Creek Reserve is returning in 2015. We will sell the season's first batches here on our website in early December, and we will continue taking orders until noon on Dec 21st, or until our limited supply runs out."


    Link to uplandscheese.com's order page

    Excellent, joyous information. Thank you!!

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #18 - December 4th, 2015, 4:42 pm
    Post #18 - December 4th, 2015, 4:42 pm Post #18 - December 4th, 2015, 4:42 pm
    I just checked and Murray's has the Extra Mature at $32/lb. Doesn't look runny at all in their pix.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #19 - December 4th, 2015, 5:14 pm
    Post #19 - December 4th, 2015, 5:14 pm Post #19 - December 4th, 2015, 5:14 pm
    I have not had the rush creek reserve, but the pictures/description remind me of the Jasper Hill Harbison. It is also bark wrapped (spruce), and had a very stinky rind which is not for the faint of heart. The inside, however is one of the most delicious soft cheeses I have ever had. It is it leans to yellow end of white, and has a great full grassy flavor. It is made from pasteurized milk, however. I have been buying it at Heinen's.

    -Will
  • Post #20 - December 4th, 2015, 5:22 pm
    Post #20 - December 4th, 2015, 5:22 pm Post #20 - December 4th, 2015, 5:22 pm
    Geo wrote:I just checked and Murray's has the Extra Mature at $32/lb. Doesn't look runny at all in their pix.

    Geo


    That's the Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Same cheesemaker, different cheese.
  • Post #21 - December 4th, 2015, 5:25 pm
    Post #21 - December 4th, 2015, 5:25 pm Post #21 - December 4th, 2015, 5:25 pm
    Yes, I'm aware of that. But I noted that Hammond began this thread with a discussion of the Pleasant Ridge, so thought it germane to remark that it was available in a more general manner than at the creamery.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 5:34 pm Post #22 - December 10th, 2015, 5:34 pm
    Sold out as of yesterday. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. EDIT: For clarity, I meant having the opportunity to purchase before it sold out.

    http://www.uplandscheese.com/order.php
  • Post #23 - December 12th, 2015, 6:41 am
    Post #23 - December 12th, 2015, 6:41 am Post #23 - December 12th, 2015, 6:41 am
    My son and my brother-in-law put in thier orders months ago at different sources and we have gone through two rounds and have two more to eat.
    Best one can do in the USA for a French style non-factory soft cheese.
    A number of years ago, a source in Canada was shipping real French soft cheeses including a triple creme that was the best I have ever eaten but the USDA stepped in and stopped that source.
    Now, stuff like Andre factory cheese is sold universally in the USA and it's not very good at all compared to the real thing.
    Anyway plan for next year and order early.-Richard
  • Post #24 - December 26th, 2015, 5:48 pm
    Post #24 - December 26th, 2015, 5:48 pm Post #24 - December 26th, 2015, 5:48 pm
    Rush Creek has been easy to find this year. Pastoral got a lot of it and still had plenty left at $30 apiece as of a few days ago. The Whole Foods on Ashland had about five on display today on sale for $25.
  • Post #25 - December 27th, 2015, 8:10 pm
    Post #25 - December 27th, 2015, 8:10 pm Post #25 - December 27th, 2015, 8:10 pm
    Picked up some Rush Creek ($25) and Pleasant Ridge Reserve ($20/lb) at the awesome Edgewater Whole Foods tonight. It was the last wheel of the Rush Creek in the case; don't know if there is/will be more.
  • Post #26 - December 29th, 2015, 6:43 pm
    Post #26 - December 29th, 2015, 6:43 pm Post #26 - December 29th, 2015, 6:43 pm
    budrichard wrote:My son and my brother-in-law put in thier orders months ago at different sources and we have gone through two rounds and have two more to eat.
    Best one can do in the USA for a French style non-factory soft cheese.
    A number of years ago, a source in Canada was shipping real French soft cheeses including a triple creme that was the best I have ever eaten but the USDA stepped in and stopped that source.
    Now, stuff like Andre factory cheese is sold universally in the USA and it's not very good at all compared to the real thing.
    Anyway plan for next year and order early.-Richard


    As Madeline Kahn said in 'Blazing Saddles'..."It's TWUE, it's TWUE!" This tastes like the stuff I had in France. Earthy, slightly musty, explosive.

    I had been at River Valley Kitchens in Burlington, WI to pick up some late Xmas presents, and saw a sign for the Rush Creek Reserve, $31 a wheel. Snagged the second-to-last one, wish now I had cleaned 'em out. Enjoying a wedge in an empty house with some Rustic Bakery Handmade Sourdough Flatbread crackers, wild mushroom & white truffle variety. Holy shit.

    And I just got on the Uplands website and the Rush Creek Reserve is sold out for the season. Blasted!

    Like Gary W. said on TV once about Uncle John's BBQ...'this is the type of food you want to eat alone...' :P
  • Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 1:56 pm
    Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 1:56 pm Post #27 - January 4th, 2018, 1:56 pm
    I have not been able to find the rush creek reserve in the past and had more or less forgotten about it, then I saw it yesterday at whole foods in deerfield. Looking forward to giving it a try.

    -Will
  • Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 4:11 pm
    Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 4:11 pm Post #28 - January 4th, 2018, 4:11 pm
    WillG wrote:I have not been able to find the rush creek reserve in the past and had more or less forgotten about it, then I saw it yesterday at whole foods in deerfield. Looking forward to giving it a try.

    -Will


    It is stunning and a tad less meaty/unctuous than Jasper Hills Harbison. Both are ahmazing & found at GNR Pastoral also.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #29 - January 5th, 2018, 8:35 am
    Post #29 - January 5th, 2018, 8:35 am Post #29 - January 5th, 2018, 8:35 am
    great cheese! found some here in Denver at WFs on sale for $11.99!
    but since I rarely get to WFs I had ordered 3 wheels direct. We have consumed 3 of the four so far but need a break from rich foods for a
    few weeks!
  • Post #30 - January 5th, 2018, 10:54 am
    Post #30 - January 5th, 2018, 10:54 am Post #30 - January 5th, 2018, 10:54 am
    Finally tried it last night and I have to say that it is remarkably similar to the Harbison. The Rush Creek may be a little more complex, though that could just be in my mind since I would assume the non-pasteurized would be different. If I can ever find them at the same time, I will have to do a taste test.

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