Camembert (Silvery Moon Creamery)
Silvery Moon Creamery is located at Smiling Hill Farm near Portland, Maine, which has been in the Knight family since the 1700s. The Knight’s Holstein cows graze outdoors seven months per year, and in the winter they eat haylage from the farm’s pesticide-free pastures.
Silvery Moon Creamery was born in 2003 from a partnership between cheesemaker Jennifer Betancourt, who first learned the art of cheesemaking at the Squire Tarbox Inn on Westport Island, and later at Cornell University, and the Knight family. Today cheese production continues under the direction of Dorothee Grimm, who was born and raised in Germany and worked for years as a researcher in microbiology. After moving to Maine, Dorothee took cheesemaking classes from different local cheesemakers and made yogurt and cheese at home before applying for a position at Silvery Moon. “I still work in microbiology, pampering the good microbes and keeping the bad ones out,” Dorothee says. “But now, I can eat the results of my work at the end of the day.”
Silvery Moon Creamery’s Camembert is a bloomy rinded cheese inspired by its namesake French classic.
To produce this cheese, the milk is first gently batch pasteurized – at a lower temperature for a longer period of time than in a continuous pasteurizer – in an effort to preserve the integrity of Smiling Hill Farm’s raw milk and to produce a more unique and flavorful cheese. Milk is then cultured and renneted, and the curd is cut with a vertical harp before it’s hand-ladled into molds. After draining and salting, discs are aged in the farm’s cheese cave for six weeks, and flipped periodically to ensure the even distribution of moisture and the white fuzzy rind.
With a thick snowy white wind and a bulging, slightly chalky paste, this Camembert yields scents of butter and clover on the nose. Flavor is lush and strong, with an initial acidic tang that quickly mellows into a lingering earthy funkiness.
On a cheeseplate, serve this Camembert alongside apples, pears or honey. For wine pairings, try it with a Gruener Veltliner or a Reisling.