Jasper Hill Creamery
Harbisons Pasteurized Cow's Milk Cheese
Harbisons is named after the late Anne Harbison, a local Greensboro Vermont activist affectionately know as the grandmother of Greensboro. This is a rustic, bloomy rind soft ripened cheese. Jasper Hill wraps the young cheeses in the inner bark (cambium) of local spruce trees.
The cheese has a white, powdery rind and has a piece of spruce cambium circling the outside. The interior is the color of unbleached linen. The youngest cheese require cutting but if you are lucky, the cheese will be so runny you will have to eat it with a spoon. The cheese smells like a steak in a mushroom patch in a spruce forest just after a soft morning rain. There is a woodsy mild funk in the background. The flavors follow the aromas and spooning creamy, buttery, meaty, mushroomy spruce scented cheese onto a piece of fresh baguette is about a good as it gets. I am eating my Harbisons with a bottle of Domaine du Manoir de Montreuil Cambremer Cidre Pays d'Auge, a 4.5% alcohol by volume lightly sweet Norman cider with a nice bit of funk and yeast and some rich apple flavors. The cider's funk and apple flavors engage magnificently with the cheese's spruce, mushroom, meat and funk. The carbonation pulls back the covers on the flavors and lets you savor the essentials picking up on traces of vegetal and lemon. Harbisons won the American Cheese Society Best of Show Award in 2018, came in third for the same award in 2015 and 2017 and won best in Show in the Washed rind category in 2016. This bottle of Norman cider, a fresh baguette, a mild May afternoon and a perfectly aged Harbisons, at this moment, this has to be the best cheese in the world.
I have also enjoyed Harbisons with Boulevard Double Wide IPA and the cheese's spruce works nicely with the beer's hop notes. Barrel aged sours such as Bruery Terreux Oude Tart or a brett beer such as Crooked Stave St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier.