Since Wisconsin is known as the 'Dairy State' in the U.S. and many fine cheeses are made in Wisconsin, I thought it would be a fun idea to showcase one of our fine artisan cheeses for this event.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Upland Cheese Company will be reviewed for this post. This cheese was included in a beautiful gift basket of cheeses and wines that we received from good friends as a Christmas gift. Since I was ill the entire week after Christmas, I was happy to finally taste it for this wonderful event.
I knew when I made the Spicy Chili cheese crackers for our HBin5 bread event this week (please see my previous post) that they would be perfect to serve with a hearty cheese and this cheese was perfect match.
The cheese was delicious! It tasted like a combination of an aged white cheddar and a fine French Gruyère. It was semi-hard and had a delightful nutty and slightly salty taste. I believe I could also detect a hint of clover.
Quoting from the Upland Cheese website:
"Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an artisanal cheese made from the non-pasteurized milk of a single herd of Wisconsin cows fed and managed using natural, "old world" practices. Our cows graze lush pastures from early spring through fall, just as all cows did before the industrialization of our food system...
Pleasant Ridge Reserve has received numerous prestigious awards. Most notably, Best of Show at the 2005 American Cheese Society conference, an accolade it won for the second time, having been awarded Best of Show in 2001 as well. Additionally, Pleasant Ridge Reserve was named U.S. Best of show 2001 and 2005 Champion at the 2003 U.S Championship cheese contest. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the only cheese to ever win both national competitions. Most recently Pleasant Ridge Reserve was awarded the 2007 Gallo Gold Medal Award for Best Artisanal Dairy Product.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an original cheese inspired by farmstead cheeses from the alpine provinces of southeastern France. The aging techniques we use were originally developed in the Middle Ages when cheeses similar to Pleasant Ridge Reserve were aged in limestone caves and washed frequently with a brine solution. Washing the rind keeps it free of unwanted microbes and produces a variety of pleasing flavors. Because of the time-consuming hand work involved this practice is rarely used today.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese is the end product of a process linked to the seasons and life cycles of our animals as well as to the prairie soils and climate of southwest Wisconsin. The sweet flavors of the pasture grasses, clovers, herbs and wild flowers are experienced in every taste of our cheese."
If you do a web search for Pleasant Ridge Reserve or Upland Cheese you will likely find a source to purchase it. You can also find it here.
The recipe for the spicy chili crackers is from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg.
Thank you Loulou for the opportunity to showcase one of our fine Wisconsin cheeses! Again, please visit Chez Loulou on January 15 when she will post all of the participants.