This one goes out to my friends, the drag queens. I know, I know, cheese and lipstick don’t mix, but I couldn’t help myself. When cheesemonger Paul Lawler told me that Keswick Creamery’s latest release was named “Lush’n Wild,” I time-traveled back to fourth grade when I wore Maybelline Lipsmacker on a rope and lip-synched Pat Benatar. Yeah, the ‘80s loved me.
Lush’n Wild is, awesomely, just that. Its sharp, feral notes made me caterwaul the other night when I put out a selection of Keswick cheeses to taste with my neighbor Emily. Emily is a fashion designer who always travels with a miniature dachshund in tow, and usually they are both wearing rhinestones. Even the dachshund caterwauled when we bit into Lush’n Wild. It was a primal experience.
Here’s why Lush’n Wild is my favorite Keswick cheese (and I’ve tried many since my visit last week): it’s sneaky. It smells mellow and faintly citrusy, but it tastes tack-sharp and salty-sweet. Sneaky, yeah. It’s also a Tomme, an Alpine style of cheese, but it tastes vaguely like an English cheddar. For instance, there are bitter notes that I associate with cheddar, and the consistency bears similarities, too: dry to the touch, creamy on the tongue. I swear, it’s a cheddar cross-dresser.
Lush’n Wild also has awesome rind. After being pressed, the wheels are rubbed with Cabernet Sauvignon grape must from Adams County Winery, a vineyard near Gettysburg, Pa. The must infuses the rind with a dark cattail-like hue, and yes, I ate the rind. It was delicious. With some crusty bread and a bottle of IPA, this lush went wild.
Keswick Creamery is known for its ricotta, but I’m excited about its curious Tommes. Several, like Tommenator, are washed with beer from Troegs Brewing Co. The creamery also makes Happy Jack, which is a Tomme bathed in hard cider. Seeing beautiful cheeses bathed in local spirits – well, it’s hard not to get light-headed. I’ll have to reign myself in for future photo shoots with these cheeses, or this blog will turn into Raw-Milk Runway.
But reallly...would that be so terrible?