Legend has it that during the French Revolution, a refractory priest from Brie found refuge with Marie Harel, a farmer in Camembert, Orne. To thank her for her hospitality, he gives her the secret of making a cheese from her area.
But the Norman origins of Camembert seem more distant, since in 1860, the parish archives of the village of Camembert already mentioned this cheese specialty. During the 19th century, with the creation of the Paris-Lisieux-Caen railway line, Camembert cheeses quickly established themselves in the markets of Paris and throughout France.
In 1890, the invention of the famous round poplar box allowed the camembert to be transported without problems over long distances. In the twentieth century, the Camembert of Normandy is a successful victim. Other cheeses of the same name appear on the stalls. Faced with this competition, the Normans created, in 1909, the “Union of Manufacturers of True Camembert of Normandy”.
According to the manufacturing rules, Normandy camembert must be in the shape of a cylinder 10.5 to 11.5 cm in diameter and 3 cm thick. It weighs about 250 g and is a soft cheese with at least 45% fat on dry extract, or 22% fat on the finished product. He is always dressed in a wooden box. Its white crust is thin and flowery.
It must be twenty days for the manufacture of this specialty of origin:
first day: from pressing to dripping. The milk is heated to about 35 ° C, bottled and pressed. The rennet, of animal origin, has the effect of curdling the milk. The average duration of the curdling is one and a half hours. Then comes the ladle molding, an operation that gives the dough its flexibility and smoothness. After five passes of one ladle per pan and a wait of about an hour between each ladle, the mussels drain naturally before being turned over once only once in the night and covered with one metal metal that promotes draining.
2nd day: from demoulding to salting. The next morning, the cheese took shape. It is then demoulded. The Penicillium Candidum is sprayed on its faces and on its slice before being placed on a rack. The racks are then placed on carts. Drainage is then completed at a temperature of 18 to 20 ° C. Finally, for sale cheese by sprinkling dry salt.
From the 3rd to the 15th day: halo refining. During this period, the cheeses are placed in haloirs, air-conditioned rooms whose temperature and humidity are monitored and controlled. At the end of this period, the cheese became a “white foam” camembert.
From the 15th to the 21st day: Camemberts are sorted by quality. They continue to be refined on a board and then packed in wooden boxes. The cheeses are then ready to be shipped.
Choose it and enjoy it
A true Camembert from Normandy is recognizable by its regular shape and its white crust down and dotted with red pigmentation. Its spot, light yellow, is smooth and flexible. Its smell, although with a bouquet, must remain delicate. Its taste, on the other hand, is fruity and a little uplifting. The cheese should be soft to the touch.
The Camembert de Normandie is consumed all year round. Depending on the taste, it will be chosen at different stages of aging. Half-refined, its bouquet is light. Refined, its flavor is more pronounced. It is aged “à point” for 30 to 35 days. It is the essential basis of any good cheese platter.
It must be stored at a temperature between 5 and 10 ° C. It is best to keep it in its original packaging at the bottom of the refrigerator. It must be served at room temperature (18 to 20 ° C) to express all its qualities. Tradition has it that it is consumed at the end of a meal. However, it can be served on canapés for an aperitif or used in the kitchen to make delicious recipes.