Eat This: Rupert
Looking to try some new cheese? Well, if you aren’t, now you will be. I’ve added another cheese to my growing list of favorites.
Consider Bardwell Farm – Rupert (Raw Jersey Cow’s Milk from West Pawlet, Vermont)
A few weeks ago, some old Kaufman family friends were in town for a brief San Francisco visit. Alec and Meena both went to Miami University with Sister Bouche (Laura), and they are now a sophisticated (and decidedly gourmand-y) married couple living in Evanston, Illinois. While Alec was busy working all day, Meena enjoyed what the Ferry Building had to offer and, when we met for drinks, arrived with a turophile’s dream gift bag: a box set of cheese-serving accoutrements and 3 pieces of cheese. Two of the three were old favorites (Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam & Jasper Hill Farms Winnimere), but there was one I’d never seen or heard of before: Consider Bardwell Farm’s Rupert.
Consider Bardwell is a 300-acre cheesemaking co-op in Vermont (and it’s a beauty), first established in 1864 by a man named Consider Bardwell Stebbins. Nearly 150 years later, Consider Bardwell is owned by Angela Miller and Russel Glover. Using raw milk from their own herd of Oberhasli goats and the milk from a neighboring farm’s Jersey cows, cheesemaker Peter Dixon makes small batches of cheese by hand.
Rupert (which is named after one of the oldest towns in Vermont) is a raw Jersey cow’s milk inspired by the classic Alpine style cheeses of Europe like Gruyere and Comte. Sitting next to the Mt. Tam and the Winnimere, it didn’t look (or smell) like much, but the Rupert packs quite a punch. Aged for a minimum of six months, the thin and earthy rind gives way to a titillating paste. While the color is buttery, the flavor tastes more like cream, with sharpness, complexity, and the definite hint of onions. The texture is firm, but not hard, and there are a few pleasing chloride crystals scattered throughout. This cheese would be great on plain crackers, but I had no trouble taking it down all by itself.