Mountain-shaped and with the faintest smell of spring, Briar Summit conjures the cheese’s origins at Nettle Meadow Farm at the foothills of the Adirondacks. This lush and creamy bloomy rind carries whispers of briar patches and woods with each morsel. Not aggressively floral, but with distinct herbal notes, Briar Summit exudes a pleasant waft of flowers.
Tea and cheese have proven a nice pair, and this cheese is no exception. Born out of cheesemaker Sheila Flanagan’s daydreams, the milk—a combination of cow, sheep, and goat—gets a dose of raspberry leaf tea during pasteurization. What results is the most delicate hint of leafy springtime that rounds out Briar Summit’s soft cream flavor. It’s a bit of terroir as well: At the farm, which also houses an animal sanctuary, sheep and goats eat a natural diet that includes wild herbs, grain, and raspberry leaves.
This dainty cheese looks and tastes lovely on any dessert plate. Pair with Champagne or, to amplify those lilting tea notes, try it with framboise.