Rush Creek Reserve: A Cheese for Friends
December 22, 2010
Rush Creek Reserve is an intriguing cheese that begs to be shared. The cheese is a beautiful coral color, encircled by a rustic bark band. Rush Creek Reserve’s spruce band is not purely decorative: it gives structure, flavor, and perfume to the cheese. I mistakenly purchased half a whole cheese and it softened into a puddle out of refrigeration. This is a cheese that calls for friends and spoons.
Rush Creek Reserve is a recent cheese from Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin, released in 2010. They also make the much-awarded Pleasant Ridge Reserve; Rush Creek Reserve is the first new cheese from Uplands Cheese Company in 10 years.
Rush Creek Reserve is made from raw cow’s milk, has a washed rind and is aged for 60 days before market. It is a soft cheese that turns soupy when out of refrigeration, similar to Epoisses. It is produced in a small flat cylinder and is banded with a spruce bark ring. The bark band contains the cheese as it softens and becomes runny.
The bark band looks like an old leather book spine. It smells like a wet forest: damp and crisp with an odor of decay.
The coral peach rind is a soft skin that hovers over the paste. The rind has clusters of white surface molds like barnacle colonies on a rock. The interior paste is golden yellow and has an inviting aroma like baked cheese bread.
Rush Creek Reserve’s flavors are sweet, sour and slightly fruity. There is a real sweetness to this cheese, but it has a more dominant sourness similar to a grapefruit’s aftertaste. The grapefruit flavor lingers in the mouth after eating. There is also a mild bitterness–perhaps from the spruce bark–that gives balance to its sweet and sour flavors.
The cheese’s texture is thick and pasty in the mouth and coats the tongue.
We all liked Rush Creek Reserve a lot. Rush Creek Reserve is an excellent cheese to share with friends or family. It is delicate when out of refrigeration, so use caution when transporting. It is best to follow the cheesemaker’s recommendation: buy a whole cheese, remove its top and eat with spoons. This cheese makes a great excuse for a gathering.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Rush Creek Reserve from The Cheese Board (Berkeley, CA); I have also seen this cheese recently at Cowgirl Creamery (Ferry Building). It may be available only seasonally.