“Liberté, Égalité, Camembert” is the cry of those who try to protect the almost sacred Camembert. Camembert, a French affair of the heart and a Norman cultural asset with a beautiful history.
This begins as a legend during the French Revolution with a priest from the Brie region, home of the cheese of the same name, who, while on the run, finds shelter in the town of Camembert with the brewer Marie Harel. To express his gratitude, he teaches them how to make cheese and together they create the wonderfully creamy Camembert from simple Brie. The cheese is said to have been sold for the first time in 1790 at the markets of Vilmoutiers. Also Napoleon III. is said to have helped spread the new food and luxury product. In 1890, the characteristic round box made of chipboard was invented for transport and to this day it is still used to transport and store Camembert across the world. While Brie was considered food during the French Revolution, Camembert served alongside bread and wine for French soldiers during the First World War.
A classic Camembert weighs around 250 grams and is circular or sometimes oval. The light to golden yellow Camembert dough is covered with a white mold rind. The ripeness can cause fermentation holes to form in the dough itself. However, these have no influence on the taste of the Camembert; This one is a bit spicy but mostly nutty. Depending on the ripeness, Camembert tastes milder, but it is drier than Brie because, with a fat content of 45 percent, it contains less fat than Brie. If the cheese smells of a hint of ammonia, it has matured for too long and will run when cut. When ripened perfectly, the Camembert has a soft and creamy consistency and can be spread very well on bread. Camembert is often breaded, fried or gratinated.
Without a designation of origin, i.e. without the AOC, Camembert is the most copied cheese in the world. Unlike Camembert made in Normandy, such industrial products are made from pasteurized milk. However, if the Camembert is labeled AOC and "de Normandie", it is made from raw milk according to a centuries-old recipe, is completely covered with white noble mold and is produced by hand.
Because some time ago the regulations governing designations of origin for Camembert were relaxed by the Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité, one speaks of a "murder" of the real Camembert de Normandie, because the relaxation means that the milk of a Camembert is only 30% Percent must consist of Norman cows and pasteurized milk may be used for production. As a result, Camembert loses its character and taste is the accusation made by France's political cheese libertarians. Macron and the Minister of Agriculture are among them and they are all demanding the same thing: raw milk Camembert for the world.
Because Camembert has such an exciting history and is recognized all over the world, we choose Camembert as the cheese of the month. We reward that with a recipe. This time:
Tarte flambée with pear, rocket and of course Camembert
Ingredients for 4 persons:
- 1 package of dough for tarte flambée
- 1 pear
- 200g Camembert
- 1 cup of crème fraîche with herbs
- 100g diced ham
- 3 handfuls of arugula
- Honey, walnuts as desired
Roll out the dough for tarte flambée from the freezer shelf on baking paper. Spread with crème fraîche as desired. Wash the pear, peel it and lay it out in thin slices on the dough. The ham cubes are sprinkled on top. Now cut the brie into slices and sprinkle it over the tarte flambée. Depending on the package instructions, bake the tarte flambée and only serve with rocket after baking. Feel free to drizzle some honey over the brie before serving or sprinkle with walnuts.