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Camembert de Normandie

 

Camembert de Normandie

 

Origin:

France - Normandy.

 

Type:

Cow's milk, pasteurised (non A.O.C.) and unpasteurised (A.O.C.); soft-ripened edible blomy rind

 

Fat content:

45%

 

History:

Camembert was reputedly invented in 1791 by Marie Harel, a farmer from Normandy. However, the origin of the cheese we know today as camembert is more likely to rest with the beginnings of the industrialisation of the cheese-making process at the end of the 19th century. In 1890, an engineer, M. Ridel invented the wooden box which was used to carry the cheese and helped to send it for longer distances, in particular to America where it became very popular. These boxes are still used today.

Before fungi were properly understood, the colour of Camembert rind was a matter of chance, most commonly blue-grey, with brown spots. From the early 20th century onwards the rind has been more commonly pure white, but it was not until the mid-1970s that pure white became standard.

The cheese was famously issued to French troops in the first world war, becoming firmly fixed in the French popular culture as a result. It has many other roles in French culture, literature and history. It is now internationally known, and many local varieties are made around the world.

The Camembert de Normandie was granted a protected designation of origin in 1992 after the original AOC in 1983

 

Characteristics:

Bloomy rind - the unpasteurised with slight beige mottling; the pasteurised with considerable reddish mottling; whitish straw coloured interior.  The unpasteurised version has a strong flavour and aroma of mushroom, combined with garlic and truffle.  The pasteurised version has a mild flavour with slightly mushroomy aroma.

 

Related Cheeses

All French soft-ripened cow's milk cheeses, including Brie, Italian Toma and Paglia-style cheeses.

 

AppropriateWines

Burgundy, Pinot Noir.

 

Bottom line

The unpasteurised version is a superb classic cheese. The unpasteurised version which is commonly available is comparatively bland and tasteless.