Bent River, Minnesota

by mncheese on September 14, 2011

in American-Midwest,Bubbly,Cheese!,Cheesemakers & People,Cow,Drinks!,Milk

Ladies and gentleman, I have found the perfect Camembert, and it’s not from France (pause for you all to shudder). Nope, the bite that convinced me that this was the one Camembert to rule them all  – the Ring of Camemberts, if you will – did not come from a tiny cheesemaker in rural Normandy. It happened at the Minneapolis Farmers Market one recent Saturday morning as I battled the crowds with my husband, best college pal and three young kids in tow. That’s when I came across Keith Adams of Alemar Cheese Company, who was sampling his Bent River, and I fell in love (with the cheese, of course, not Keith).

This can not be! you may declare. True Camembert can only come from France, not Mankato, Minn. Taste this cheese and I think  you’ll lose the argument. Using Cedar Summit Farm milk, which is known throughout the state for its pure, rich, milkly flavor, Adams has crafted a cheese that defines what a Camembert should taste like – a full-bodied creaminess that doesn’t left a rank aftertaste, as many Camemberts I’ve tried have done. Yes, it’s made with pasteurized rather than raw milk, which is why Adams calls it a “Camembert-style” cheese, but I’m not getting caught up in semantics. I just want more of this cheese. I want to let it get as soft as possible and dip everything in it – apple slices, my favorite Rustica bread, rack of lamb (well, maybe not that). You’ll want to bathe your tongue in its luscious warmth, savoring the sweet cream and slightly sharper rind with every chew.

It was fortuitous that I came upon Adams’ booth that morning – I normally go to the farmers market on Sunday mornings, when he’s not there, so this was my first chance to meet him and taste the cheese. Bent River is also available at local cheese shops and co-ops, but there’s nothing like purchasing it straight from the hands that made the cheese. I’d like to say I paired it with a delicious bubbly and had a sophisticated snack that night, but truth be told, I devoured it at lunch like a pig at a trough. I guess I’ll be switching my market day for the rest of the season.


JuliaBalbilla September 15, 2011 at 3:58 am

I was very interested to read about this cheese and living in the UK have never had the opportunity to try American cheese. I usually buy the unpasteurised ‘Camembert de Normandie’ but oddly enough I did come across Cornish Camembert ( which was superb and like Bent River, is also pasteurised. It was out of this world and if it was sold where I live, I would certainly buy that rather than the Norman Camembert.

Madame Fromage September 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

You’ve just made my ears perk up. I’d love to try it alongside one of my fave PA Camemberts: Camem-baaa. And Hudson Valley Camembert. The bloomy world in the U.S. seems to be percolating.

It's Not You, it's Brie September 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Love this! We have a new distributer on the west coast and this just made it to California. I stuck it in the wine bar cheese club this month!

Jill September 24, 2011 at 8:54 am

Enjoy! I’m thinking about heading to the market today for more.

Natalie October 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

Thank you SO much for this article. I found Bent River at Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park, Illinois. It is the tastiest and creamiest cheese ever! Smeared it on my French olive flatbread and sipped a little sauvignon blanc, nearly fainted with delight…

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