Camembert Cheese de Normandie
History, Description, and Recipes
French Camembert cheese is made in the Pays d'Auge in the departments of Calvados, Manche, Orne and Eure. This region enjoys an oceanic climate, with fairly even year round temperatures and lots of rain. These conditions have created an abundant and varied grass land, perfect for grazing dairy cows and producing rich and nourishing Camembert de Normandie.
Origin and History
The makers of this French cheese tell the story of how it was first created in 1791 in the town of Camembert in Normandy. This was the time of the French Revolution and Marie Harel had given refuge to a priest who came from the town of Brie near Paris. According to the legend, it was he who let her in on the secrets of great cheese making in the Brie fashion. Hence the similarity between the two cheeses. Of course, in a land of happy cows, the Normans had been making cheese for many centuries and surely Madame Harel can only be part of the true history.
Camembert cheese is a fairly delicate product and it took the invention of the emblematic balsa wood box in the late 19th century to seal its fate as one of France's favorites. This special box, which is still used today, protects the cheese but also allows it to breath.
In 1983 the cheese was officially sanctioned with an AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée). In 1996, this appellation was extended to an AOP (appelation d'origine protegée), the European certification of an exceptional product. In order to be labeled Camembert de Normandie a cheese must be made in a strictly controlled fashion. Most importantly it must be made with raw (unpasteurized) cow's milk produced in the Normandy region.
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