This Seasonal Cheese Is Actually One of My Favorite Dinners for Two

Make this once-a-year cheese the center point of a holiday meal.

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Rush Creek Reserve Cheese

If you've never had Rush Creek Reserve, you're in for a treat. Cheese nerds and in-the-know food people go crazy for it every year because it's unlike anything else made in the United States. And while it's good for cheese boards (duh) it also makes a super-special centerpiece for a celebratory winter meal.

Rush Creek Reserve is made in Wisconsin at Uplands Cheese, where 150 cows produce all the milk for this cheese. The magic of Rush Creek Reserve is in the milk, it's made from the milk produced by the cows as they switch from eating summer grass to winter hay. This detail, the food the cows are eating, makes all the difference in the milk. The hay makes the milk extra rich and delicious, perfect for producing this flavorful cheese.

Rush Creek Reserve is not served sliced like a Brie, though the soft rind might remind you of Brie. Instead, the best way to serve it is to gently cut the top off the small wheel, and then let the rest of the cheese serve as a bowl. If gently heated (ideally by placing it in a 300°F oven for 10 or 15 minutes) it's almost like the world's most delicious fondue. If you don't want to warm it, serving it at room temperature is just as good.

Instead of making this cheese an appetizer, I prefer to make it the center point of a meal. Served alongside roasted potatoes, sliced baguette, a green salad, and maybe a few slices of roasted chicken breast, this cheese can really sing. It's flavor is super savory, almost smoky, with a porky richness. It's so delicious that you'll be glad you're eating it for dinner, and rich enough that it will fill you up.

Rush Creek Reserve is super-seasonal. The milk only gets rich enough to make it once a year, and Uplands can only produce so much of it, being that it's made by hand. But that's part of what makes it special. A cheese like this deserves to be a holiday tradition, just as much (if not more) than that Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. Especially in a year like this one, where our holiday gatherings are smaller than normal, treating yourself to a special cheese (one you definitely won't want to share) is a nice way to buffer the bummer. It also makes an excellent gift; just think how knowledgeable you'll look when you explain this cheese is one of the most beloved in America.

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