Camembert is a soft bloomy rinded cheese made from cow’s milk. The cheese is made from raw cow’s milk and is hand ladled, dry salted and turned manually during maturation. When ripe the white rind is streaked with reddish brown patches and has the signature Camembert aroma of cabbage and mould.
The legend of Marie Harel, the inventor of Camembert, is possibly the best known of all the French cheese myths. The story goes that a priest, to whom she gave shelter during the Revolution, gave her the recipe for Camembert as a token of his gratitude. However the first recorded mentions of Camembert-style cheese in the region occur over 100 years prior to this. For a thorough debunking of the myth of Marie Harel, not to mention a scholarly account of the history of Camembert to the present day, consult Pierre Boisard’s ‘Camembert: A National Myth’.
The most famous of French cheeses, Camembert is a soft bloomy rinded cheese made from cow’s milk. Camembert always comes in a wooden box, invented by the engineer Ridel, this made the cheese far easier to transport. This, coupled with the spread of the railways that enabled the sale of Camembert outside of Normandy, accounts for the cheese’s renown throughout France. In the nineteenth century demand for Camembert-style cheese soon spawned imitation cheeses across France. With no legal impediment to stop them, cheesemakers throughout France began to use the name Camembert for these cheeses.
Efforts by the Constitutive Assembly of the Association of Producers of Genuine Camembert to limit the use of the name Camembert to a specific, Norman-made product ended in failure in 1926, when the appellate court at Orléans declared that the name Camembert had fallen into the public domain. Hence cheese called Camembert is made throughout France. Camembert AOC however may only be produced in the departments of Calvados, L’Eure, Manche, L’Orne and Seine Maritime. A number of other conditions also apply. For more detail on this visit the INAO’s website.
Domaine de Saint Loup’s ‘La Petite Normande’, the Camembert de Normandie we sell, is one of the few remaining genuine Norman Camemberts. The cheese is made from raw cow’s milk and is hand ladled, dry salted and turned manually during maturation. When ripe the white rind is streaked with reddish brown patches and has the signature Camembert aroma of cabbage and mould. The paste should have no trace of chalkiness, but- unlike Camembert Rustique-it never becomes liquid. The flavour is full and pungent, with traces of mushrooms, butter and grass. Cider would make an ideal partner, or perhaps a Merlot led Bordeaux