Friday, January 28, 2011

Waiting for Rush Creek

The cheese world is full of suspense. It’s one of the things I love about writing this blog: the glee I feel when certain cheeses come to market. Remember, I am a fiction writer at heart, so I love mythology. And no other cheese has been mythologized -- not to mention anticipated – like Rush Creek.

Weeks ago when this new baby was released in Wisconsin, I did the internet version of salivating. I hung on every Tweet that mentioned Rush Creek, stalked other bloggers who were enjoying pre-ordered wheels, and paced the dining room in a myopic haze, hoping I would get a call.

Madame Fromage, your Rush Creek has arrived.

After all, I had touched Rush Creek. Back in October, when I participated on a media tour of Wisconsin dairies, I took great delight in visting Uplands, home to the world famous Pleasant Ridge Reserve and birth place of this new wonder: a Vacherin-style cheese that promised to be silken and pungent.

Here are pictures of Rush Creek in the nursery. Aren’t they gorgeous, all bundled in bark?

The birth of Rush Creek is famous for two reasons: 1) it’s the brainchild of a young cheesemaker, Andy Hatch, under the tutelage of reknowned cheesemaker Mike Gingrich; 2) Mike Gingrich has only ever made one cheese, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a cheese so perfect it’s won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society three times. Pfuiiii, unheard of.

So, Rush Creek had to be good. It just had to be! Mike Gingrich and Andy Hatch use only the best raw milk from the finest specially bred cows that graze on the most sumptuous grass. These are Gucci cows.

Okay, okay, enough build-up. How did it taste, you ask? Like sprouts. Like budlets. Like new growth itself. If you have ever eaten an onion sprout, you have tasted the essence of Rush Creek – oniony, delicate, green, gently pungent.

But there is something else, too, a richness that no onion sprout can capture. How to describe it? Snails in butter.

So, close your eyes. Imagine a tiny seedling bursting with first zest, then add a snail glistening in butter. Sprinkle a little sea salt on your reverie, add a little parsley, then pretend you are sliding across the finest bedding. Now you have the texture.

Can you taste it? Can you smell it?

Now you know why I waited so patiently these past five months.


  1. I love your imagery ... I'm just not sure about the snail part. I guess I'll have to try the cheese and decide myself! You succeeded in getting the point across. It sounds amazing!

  2. My father and I received a private tour of Uplands Cheese several summers ago from Mr. Gingrich himself. I was interested in interning, but eventually ended up going a different direction. Regardless, it was an amazing tour with excellent from-the-source information, and of course, cheese-tasting. I've never heard the name Rush Creek, but will certainly seek it out now. Do you know if it'll become available at stores like Whole Foods, or only in Wisconsin?



  3. I love love LOVE this cheese and was fortunate to get one of the last wheels available till next year. I think I may savor this last tasty treat and even try Andy's suggestion of putting it over boiled potatoes. What a fantastically nice and unassuming guy. I hope to meet him again. Stay Cheesy!
    Here's the interview I did with him, if you're interested

  4. Uplands' web site has a store locater:

    Rush Creek will be hard to come by. If you live near Madison, WI, check with Fromagination or Whole Foods there. It's worth requesting.