Rush Hour

Spoons required for this winter cheese

Since we first tasted–and fell in love with–a wedge of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, we've been waiting for its makers to branch out with more offerings.

And waiting. And waiting, because the Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin dedicated itself exclusively to the silky Alpine-style show horse for 10 years.

That decade-long steadfastness informed our initial disbelief when we heard a second cheese was in the works. The new Rush Creek Reserve, however, is no rumor; what's more, it's a knockout.

Wrapped in spruce bark and aged briefly, the cheese is so soft it barely holds its shape. For that reason, Rush Creek ($25 for a wheel) is best enjoyed whole: Remove the bloomy cap and let the wheel act as its own bowl, taking a spoon or a crust of bread to its interior.

Each lustrous spoonful stages a balancing act of such flavors as salt, cured meat and the earthy sweetness of caramelized onions. Rush Creek is best served slightly warm, and its thick, coating texture is ideal for cooking, melted over potatoes or pasta with bacon.

Sadly, Rush Creek is a seasonal affair, capitalizing as it does on the protein- and fat-rich milk of the winter months. So after February, you'll have to go without until next December–but this cheese is worth the wait.