Cheese lovers nationwide were devastated when cheesemaker Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese Company decided to stop making his famous Rush Creek Reserve indefinitely. The spruce-wrapped, raw-milk cheese was the nearest we Americans had to the coveted French-style Mont d’Or and the thought of not having it on our holiday cheese boards was heartbreaking. When asked if he had anything else new in his cheese caves to make up for this terrible loss, Hatch’s stock answer has always been that he is experimenting with something new. After two years, the experiment seems to have paid off, even if it is in limited time. Presented in extremely limited quantities: Upland’s Experiment. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Ann Arbor
Books have always been a huge part of my life – my parents encouraging my reading with trips to the library and bookstore on a weekly basis. I’ll never forget the time my mom got an angry call from my fourth grade teacher complaining about my refusal to participate in recess activities in order to sit under a tree with my new copy of I, Trissy by Norma Fox Mazer. My mother didn’t even respond. She just hung up the phone, came right up to the school (only four blocks away), sat down under the tree with me with her own book, glared up at the teacher and then proceeded to read right along with me. I thought my teacher was going to spit nails, but she just crossed her arms and stomped off. A great memory for sure, and yet another reason books have always been one of my favorite gifts to receive. Cheese books have become a particular passion now that I’m older and can appreciate them, and this year’s batch of fromage reads is pretty snazzy. I will admit to only owning one on my list of book gifts so should anyone wish to play secret cheesy Santa.
Okay, here we go for Cheesy Gift Guide Part 2 – Books:
A quick note: all titles are available on both amazon.com and bn.com, however I encourage everyone to seek out local bookstores or click on the links to the websites and purchase directly from the author or the link. Shop local and support the community. If you want to buy big box and use a discount, head out to your local Barnes & Noble brick and mortar and save a job like mine. Alright, preaching done. Here we go!
Making friends with your local cheesemongers has many advantages – one of which is getting the heads-up whenever a new wheel rolls into the shop. Lucky for this Mouse, I have managed to become pretty buddy-buddy with the mongers at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shawn and his crew are good for a call, and a few weeks ago, my phone range with exciting news of a new cheese from Jasper Hill Farm called Harbison. Knowing that anything from the folks at Jasper promises to be good eats, I headed over to Kerrytown to get a taste.
At first glance, I was a bit disappointed. It appeared to be just another spruce-bark-wrapped cheese similar to last year’s star fromage, which was also a spruce-bound cow’s milk creation called Rush Creek Reserve from Andy Hatch at the award-winning Upland Cheese Company. Could the Kehler brothers from Vermont really compete… or offer something different? The monger behind the counter told me to reserve my judgment until I tried it. Once again, my trust was not misplaced, as any initial disappointment vanished once I cracked open this earthy wheel of goodness.
Unlike the raw-milk wonder that is Rush Creek, Harbison is made with pasteurized cow milk, and the two-third of a pound wheel is aged a mere three to six weeks. Its intense aroma of wet leaves, fresh earth and mushrooms is a pleasant contrast to the sweet, beefy flavor with a hint of smoke. While spoonable, Harbison’s paste is a bit firmer than Rush Creek, yet it still has similar versatility, responding well to both table service and cooking (it’s a particularly rich and tasty treat when mixed in with boiled redskin potatoes).
Whether entertaining or just relaxing with the family, this is a great cheese to have on-hand this holiday season. I actually had both Harbison and Rush Creek on our board for Thanksgiving. They complemented one another quite well and we all gave thanks to the blessed cheesemongers in our lives.
For more on Harbison, check out the video below.
Whenever I visit Morgan and York specialty food and wine shop in Ann Arbor, I always ask “What’s new?” and am rarely disappointed. This recent trip was no exception.
Wildspitz Bio is a funky blend of cow and goat milk with an intense nutty taste. Subtle at first, the flavor builds toward the back of the tongue and continues to become more assertive with each bite.
As with most semi-strong cheeses, I would recommend staying clear of any citrus or highly acidic fruits when eating this fun-sounding cheese. Pair with just about any red wine or dark beer and perhaps some salty almonds or cashews.
Wildspitz Bio is an elusive cheese, so be sure to grab it when found as it is a wonderful substitute for the standard Swiss selection on any cheese plate.
One of the few regrets I have about my boyfriend moving from Ann Arbor to Corktown is how far a drive it is to my favorite cheese resource, Morgan and York on Packard. What was once a ten minute jaunt down the road is now a forty-five minute schelp traversing multiple highways and byways. Totally worth the drive for the amazing cheese selection and over-the-top service, I now have even more reason to jump in my car and make the trek.
Morgan and York is getting a sweet new neighbor. Cake Nouveau, the Food Network Challenge winning cupcake shop needed larger diggs and are setting up shop next door. Owner Courtney Clark currently runs her shop in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor yet the small shop on North Fourth just cannot keep up with the demand due to the close quarters. While many see the move to the Packard location as a step in the wrong direction, I am looking forward to being able to find parking that doesn’t cost five bucks and browsing the delectable confections without feeling claustrophobic. No word yet on when the cupcake queen will be taking up residence, but construction is well under way.
You can read more about this new dynamic duo at Ann Arbor.com.