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'Tis the Season for Camembert Cheese


Soft-ripened cheese. Is there anything more decadent, more palatable, more abating?

Brie, I adore thee. Triple-crème, you are tried and true. But this summer has been all about the Camembert. Specifically, a domestic Camembert-style cheese called Bent River by Alemar Cheese.

Alemar Cheese Company is located about 70 miles southwest of the Twin Cities in Mankato, MN. There, Keith Adams is using organic whole milk from Cedar Summit Farm to produce some of the most soft, smooth, delicate Camembert-style cheese produced in the U.S.

You can find Bent River at local co-ops and cheese shops around the Twin Cities. I’ve purchased it at Surdyk’s and Seward Co-op, but they also sell it by the wheel online, and will ship it directly to your house. I’ve been tempted to order a couple of wheels for a covey of camembert lovers.

I enjoy my Bent River fresh, at room temperature, and spread on a slice of baguette. It pairs well with Frontenac Rosé for a sweet treat.

Why do I call it a Camembert-style cheese?

I’ll try to make a long story short: True Camembert is made with unpasteurized milk and is aged only about two-to-three weeks. However, any cheese made with raw milk (i.e. unpasteurized milk) must be aged at least 60 days in the U.S. Sixty-day-old Camembert would be, well….not very good. Therefore, Alemar, like most domestic producers of soft-ripened cheese, pasteurizes the milk used to make their fresh Bent River. The upside? Pregnant women who love Camembert can eat Bent River.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rfischer@mnmo.com

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