Tag Archives: pasteurized cow milk

Jasper Hill Farm introduces Harbison just in time for the Holidays!

Harbison cheese with hand forged spoon from Beekman 1802

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.

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Followup: Stinking Bishop elusive no more

For over two years, I have been on the hunt for my favorite cheese, Stinking Bishop. I badgered my cheesemongers, scoured the Internet and made several futile attempts to contact Neal’s Yard, all to no avail. Then I met Samantha, the cheese and charcuterie buyer for Cheese Plus in San Francisco, California. Well, actually I spoke with her on the phone, as I live across the country in the Midwest.

Cheese Plus is owned by Ray Bair, former director of cheese, wine, and specialty foods for Whole Foods Market.  Ray opened his shop about five years ago, and it is touted as San Francisco’s premier cheese and specialty food source – no mean feat. Although they don’t have an official online storefront, anyone can call and request items shipped. Continue reading

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