Do you link a stinky cheese? A runny cheese? A hard cheese? Everyone's got a different preference, but one thing is for certain: cheese should not be easy. There should be defining qualities that make a cheese unique and crave-worthy; a characteristic that gives it personality. While true Camemberts come from France, we taste-tested two 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?
18409 Beall Rd. S.W.
Kurtwood's Camembert ($9.25/4oz) is a farmstead cheese from Vashon Island that goes straight to your sinuses. It's potent. Dinah's, named after one of the farm's Jersey cows, is a super-gooey, funky cheese that is runnier than a brie and stinkier than a traditional Camembert. Dinah's hits its intensity climax 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.
338 Sherman St., (360) 379-0895
Mount Townsend's take on Camembert is the Cirrus ($8.99/5oz.), a very mild cheese forged in Port Townsend. There's a bit of a tang, but the cheese is relatively neutral. It's a total crowd pleaser. It's got a good, mellow flavor and creamy texture, and the sturdiness of the cheese holds up for hours, but outside of that, it's rather dull. We were hoping for more nuances, 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.
This was a case of starter cheese vs. big league cheese. Both cheeses were satisfying to the palate, but the Kurtwood Farms cheese was more interesting. It's got a funky edge to it, that's for sure, but we found ourselves eating it until the very last smear because of that exact quality. We kept tasting new flavors with every bite. It was intriguing! 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.