Camembert is a dreamy little village with no big cheese factory in sight. There is a museum about the history of Camembert cheese, which included a visit to a production site and a tasting at the shop.
Camembert was first made in 1791 by Marie Harel, following advice from a priest who came from Brie, therefore the similarity. She is credited with having refined a previously existing cheese recipe and having launched it into the wider world. Marie Harel passed her secrets on to her daughter, whose husband, Victor Paynel, presented one of his wife’s best cheeses to Napoleon III, who gave his royal seal of approval.
The surface of each cheese is sprayed with Penicillium camemberti, and the cheeses are left to ripen for three weeks. This produces the distinctive bloomy, edible rind and creamy interior texture characteristic of the cheese.
The cheese was famously issued to French troops during World War I, when the Normandy producers gave one day of production per week to the soldiers. It resulted in Camembert becoming firmly fixed in the French culture.
Only the variety named Camembert de Normandie was granted a protected designation of origin in 1992. It can only be made from raw, unpasteurized milk from Normandes cows.
Camembert was a very tasty stop indeed. It is always nice to learn more about the things you eat.
We will now have to drop our son in the Netherlands again, before we finally prepare for our departure to South Africa by going back to Germany, to hopefully get a better transmission for the car. More on our next post!