92: Bent River Camembert from Alemar Cheese

Why not treat yourself to a whole wheel of Bent River?

Why not treat yourself to a whole wheel of Bent River?

As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2016, coming April 20, we're serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes. Here are the best dishes, drinks, snacks, and sweet treats we encountered over the last year.

If you are a lover of good cheese, and especially good local cheese, then you most likely are already a fan of Bent River, an award-winning Camembert-style cheese made in Mankato. If you wonder why anyone would desire a cheese that smells a little funky and is encased in a fuzzy rind — that you eat, for God’s sake! — well, to that we say, more on the cheese board for us.

Keith Adams founded Alemar in 2008, naming the company after his two girls, Alexandra and Mariel. Adams decided to try his hand at cheese making after his bagel business floundered during the no-carbs craze. His first creation was this soft-ripened cheese that has rich, clean, and buttery flavors with hints of late summer grass and mushrooms. The texture is cream-like, soft, and sensuous.

A whole round of Bent River weighs in at just shy of a pound, and would make a perfect centerpiece for your holiday party spread. You can also find half wheels or smaller pieces at your local cheese shop and many grocery stores. Do yourself a favor and skip the factory-produced economy brie and treat yourself to this artisan, handmade cheese. You may just learn to love the funk.

100: Caramel-Bacon Puffcorn at Red Cow

99: Pappadams from the Curry Diva

98: The Kingfield at Five Watt

97: Raspberry Cream Scone at Sun Street Breads

96: Bacon and Bourbon from 6Smith

95: Biscuits and Gravy at Ward 6

94: Burgers from Peppers and Fries

93: The Everything Bagel from Rise Bagel Co.