Who's Got the Head Cheese, Kurtwood Farms or Mt. Townsend Creamery?

Camemberts aren't just for the French.

Do you like your cheese stinky? Runny? Hard? Everyone's got a different preference, but there should be defining qualities that make a cheese unique and crave-worthy, or a characteristic that gives it personality. While true Camemberts come from France, we taste-tested a pair of cheeses from two local farms that each produce a high-quality version of the French classic. Which cheese is cow's milk made in heaven? The Rivals: Kurtwood Farms, 18409 Beall Rd. S.W., VASHON ISLAND. Kurtwood's Camembert ($9.25 for 4 oz.) is a farmstead cheese that goes straight to your sinuses. Named Dinah's after one of the farm's Jersey cows, it's a super-gooey, funky cheese that's runnier than brie and stinkier than a traditional Camembert. Dinah's climaxes after reaching room temperature—that's when you can really taste the gaminess and maybe even a tinge of salt water from the nearby shores of Puget Sound. It's pungent and extremely buttery, with a beautiful, spreadable texture to match. Mt. Townsend Creamery, 338 Sherman St., PORT TOWNSEND. Mount Townsend's take is the very mild Cirrus ($8.99 for 5 oz.). There's a bit of tang, but the cheese is relatively neutral. It's a total crowd-pleaser, with a good, mellow flavor, a creamy texture, and a sturdiness that holds up for hours. But aside from that, it's rather dull. We were hoping for more nuance, something that really distinguished this cheese from the rest. We are huge fans of Mt. Townsend Creamery, but not so much of this specific cheese. The Cirrus is a solid purchase and something we'd be happy to eat again. We'd just be a little bored (again). The Champ: This was a case of starter cheese vs. big-league cheese. Both were satisfying, but Kurtwood Farms' was more interesting. It's got a funky edge, but we found ourselves eating it to the very last smear just for that reason. We tasted new flavors with every bite. Mt. Townsend is a quality cheese that any cheese board would be happy to have, but we'll be spending our moolah on Kurtwood Farms' Camembert next time. jperry@seattleweekly.com

 
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