When you think of French cheeses, we wouldn’t be surprised if your mind immediately went to Brie. It is, after all, one of the oldest cheeses to survive over the years and make it onto your cheese plate. But if we’re being honest, we’re enamored with Brie’s younger brother – a farmhouse Frenchie with the earthiness and toastiness that we love in a spreadable French cheese: Camembert!
The original Camembert cheese came from the northern region of Normandy, France. Made by Marie Harel in 1791, who was visited by a priest from the Brie region of France named Abbot Charles-Jean Bonvoust. He passed along the recipe for preparing a cheese with a bloomy, edible rind which was produced in his homeland, that we now know as Brie. The recipe was apparently altered in the process (think of a game of cheesy telephone), creating a similar, but distinctly delicious new cheese.
Often times, Camembert is mistaken for or confused with it’s cousin, Brie. Though they are both made of cow’s milk, Brie originated from central Ile de France, while Camembert comes from the northern region of Normandy. Brie is usually made in larger wheels, and is milder than the more pungent wheel of Camembert. Camembert is a bit softer and creamier than brie, which has a more pudgy and gooey texture.
There have, since the cheese’s creation, been many different versions of Camembert. Unfortunately, because of FDA regulations on raw milk cheeses, we cannot import the traditional AOC Camembert du Normandie. But we’re always on the hunt for the best Camembert we can manage – and we think we’ve found it. The tender, downy mold rind gives a contrasting bite to a melting straw-colored paste within. Aged to rich, creamy perfection, this wheel of Camembert is toasty, buttery, and ever so lactic. This is the kind of cheese that can stand up to a bold, big red wine like Bordeaux, or is balanced by a bright Hefewiesen.
If you’re looking for the perfect pair for Camembert, the answer is simple: apples. Apples are Camembert’s best friend and neighbor, as the land around the farms Camembert is made on are often apple orchards. You can go simple by slicing a few apples, drizzling with honey, and pairing up with our gooey wheel. Or, just break out a bottle of cider or a glass of apple brandy – either way, you’ll be savoring this sweet and savory combo.