Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dinah's Cheese, Kurtwood Farms, Washington

I have loved my visits to Seattle.  Dan and I are so lucky to have such wonderful friends to stay with while we're there.  We have so much fun exploring the culinary terrain with them, and there is so much to explore.  Seattle has great restaurants, access to Washington's wine country, amazing farmer's market, and a burgeoning dairy industry that will soon rival that of my home here in New England.  One example of the many "new to me" cheeses that I tried while there was Dinah's Cheese from Kurtwood Farms made by Kurt Timmermeister.

We were introduced to Dinah's Cheese at Picnic, a great little food and wine shop in Phinney Ridge, by owners Jenny and Anson Klock.  My friend André and I had stepped in to buy some wine, and struck up a conversation with Jenny, and she insisted that we try it, and we were glad that we did.  We left with a half wheel.  Between the five of us in attendance at our dinner party, we ate nearly the entire thing that evening, and I wished we had bought the whole wheel.  It was the only selection among six cheeses purchased that day that was nearly finished.  While we enjoyed the others very well, there was something about Dinah's that kept everyone going back for more.

Dinah's cheese is named for Dinah, the cow.  From her pictures on the Kurtwood Farms Blog, she looks like a Jersey.  I highly recommend reading it - you'll find out all about the adventures of Kurt and Dinah, and some of the other cows such as Joe, Boo, and Luna.  In general, I love cheese made from Jersey milk because of the intense rich buttery character that it has.  Some other favorites that come to mind right away are Tarentaise from Thistle Hill/Spring Brook Farm, Grayson from Meadow Creek, and Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy.

Dinah's is modeled on camembert, which is a really tricky cheese to make.  It's tough to get the curds to set just right, and developing a bloomy rind, such as the one on camembert, that tastes good is something that many domestic cheesemakers struggle with.  Timmermeister has managed to execute a cheese that has wonderful richness, a sweet complex yet subtle flavor, and a delicious rind.  The texture is decadently creamy - we enjoyed spreading it on some baguette that the kind folks at Picnic sent us home with.

Like many of the cheeses in Washington, Dinah's is still very small production.  I'm hoping that someday, these wonderful cheeses will make it out to the East Coast, but until then, Seattle is only a plane ticket away.  I'll be looking forward to my next visit there when I know I will find some more outstanding cheeses to try.


  1. I am most flattered! The ladies are most flattered as well; they do all the work. Dinah 2.0 especially.

    Come to the farm when you are in town.

  2. thanks for the invite. we will be there will bells on. i can't wait to meet dinah 2.0 and the crew.

  3. I'm wicked jealous of your awesome little cheese shop. We have one in town, but it's not charming like the one you describe.