Camembert: a deliciously soft cheese from Normandy

Camembert: a deliciously soft cheese from Normandy

2 minutes to read

In France, there are some 350 to 450 kinds of cheese grouped into eight categories, but Camembert from Normandy is probably one of the most famous French cheeses. Created in a small village called Camembert in 1791 during the French revolution, this deliciously soft cheese from Normandy became a real national symbol, after it was sent in huge quantities to the French troops during the World War I. Today, Camembert from Normandy made exclusively from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk, is classified and protected by the French law. 

Camembert, Normandy
Camembert, Normandy
61120 Camembert, France

History

Camembert is the name of a small, rural and authentic village in Normandy but also the famous French cheese. This village and the cheese are inseparably connected. According to the legend, Marie Harel, a local farmer, made this cheese in Camembert in 1791 during the French Revolution. But it was in 1850, after the inauguration of a railway line between Normandy and Paris, that the production of Camembert was developed, and the invention of a box made from poplar in 1890, by Jules Charrel, helped to transport it without damaging it. Today, if you visit the village of Camembert, you can admire a picturesque view of the traditional farms, where the cows graze on beautiful green pastures. Also, in this village, you can learn so much about Camembert cheese. Opened in 1981 by two brothers, François and Nicolas Durand, the Fromagerie Durand is a perfect place to see how the most delicious Camembert is manufactured step by step. The visit is also a great opportunity to observe the manual molding of this cheese.

The Fromagerie Durand, Camembert
The Fromagerie Durand, Camembert
La Héronnière, 61120 Camembert, France

AOP

In France, some 56 kinds of cheese are classified and protected by the French law, and among them is also Camembert from Normandy. In 1983, this cheese received the appellation d’origine controlée (AOC), a prestigious French label granted to certain French geographical indications for cheese but also for wine, lavender, honey, meat, butter and other agricultural products. Cheese can be labeled Camembert from Normandy only if it is made exclusively from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk, and the cows must graze for at least six months in the year. Using the ladle, milk is poured in small, hole-shaped moulds, where it is drained for several hours. Then the cheese is left to ripen for several weeks. Unmoulded and salted, the cheese is wrapped in a paper and packed to wooden containers made from poplar.

Photo Credit © iStockphoto/Anna_Shepulova
Photo Credit © iStockphoto/Anna_Shepulova

Museum of Camembert

Camembert, a deliciously soft cheese from Normandy, is probably the most popular French cheese. No wonder that there is even a museum dedicated to this cheese. The Museum of Camembert has, among other interesting things, an impressive collection of Camembert labels and this is the place where you can also taste an authentic Camembert cheese.

Musée du Camembert
Musée du Camembert
10, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, 61120 Vimoutiers

Cover Photo © Credit to iStockphoto/PicturePartners

The author

Sladjana Perkovic

Sladjana Perkovic

Hello, my name is Sladjana, a journalist and writer living in Paris, France. I write about French well hidden places, gastronomy and cultural events.

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