On Tuesday I stopped at Cowgirl Creamery's shop in San Francisco's Ferry Building to check on availability of Jasper Hill's Winnimere to answer pauliface's question,
Both Harbison and Winnimere, Vacherin-style cheeses are currently in stock there. But of greater interest to me was the Rush Creek Reserve from Uplands. When I had tried to find it last year, I'd missed the end of the season by a few weeks.
I'd just picked up a wheel out of the case to study the label when one of the staffers swooped in and said he'd be happy to cut into it and let me sample the cheese. I quipped that I had a feeling he'd been waiting all day for someone to show an interest in this cheese so he could taste it again. From his laugh, I could tell I was close to the mark. This lot was marked with best before March 7.
This was my first time trying this cheese. Even tasted at refrigerator temperature, the richness of the unpasteurized milk really stood out. Very buttery and saltier too. At home after warming to room temp, the cheese oozed more but was still akin to a custard texture rather than the dripping baveuse of a fully mature Vacherin. The butterfat showed through even more as well as a smoky, meaty, bacon fat character.
I also tasted the Winnimere at the store. It's less salty, the milk's less rich and the mushroomy, herbal, smoky elements derived from the culture come through more.
My cheesemonger said the spruce band that wraps the wheel is imported from France's Jura region, the home of Mont d'Or. Also that he prefers the Rush Creek at the end of the season, as it is now. Made in much smaller quantities, he suggested buying the Rush Creek, as the Winnimere and Harbison would still be available for some weeks to come.
I bought a half-round for $15. Full rounds are $29.
Final batches for this season were released by Uplands on February 11.