Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trying New Cheeses: Entry 9, Ile De France, Camembert

It may come as a surprise that I haven't tried Camembert cheese but it's true. Sure I've had Brie, a very close relative to Camembert, but they are NOT the same cheese as I was to learn. 

Ile De France, Camembert

Milk: Cows
Type: Soft 
Country: France
Region: Camembert, Normandy
Pasteurized: No
Description: Round mold rind with pale yellow creamy inside 
Claim to Fame: Issued to troops in WW1

HISTORY: Camembert comes from the town of Camembert in Normandy. It was first made in 1791 by Marie Harel following advice by a priest from Brie. Usually unpasteurized, but in modern times cheese producers use pasteurized milk for safety, Camembert is aged for at least 3 weeks. In 1890 a round wooden box started to be used to help distribute it over longer distances, namely America where it became popular. It became wildly known during World War 1, when it was issued to the French troops. Today Camembert is a one of the most well-known and loved Cheeses from France.

 TASTE: Camembert comes in a round wooden box, very similar to Brie. In fact, you have to look closely or you'll mistake the two. (Much like Edam and Gouda) When I opened up the wooden box I found the cheese was wrapped in a paper, again, just like Brie. UNLIKE Brie, the smell was VERY pungent, and unpleasant. However, once I unwrapped the cheese I noticed that it did not have the same smell and it apparently was all in the wrapping. The cheese was a pale yellow and covered in a mold, just like Brie. Camembert had been very Brie-like until this point but this is where the similarities stopped and the Camembert began to take on a personality of its own.

 The cheese itself was VERY soft, even softer than Brie. It would hold its shape when left alone but if you tried to pick it up, it would sag and droop. This made cutting into the Camembert different from Brie, I feel Brie holds its shape better. It was very soft and the cheese could be described as runny as it oozed out of the mold rind. The texture was extremely creamy and I could tell right away that using it for any sort of cooking would have been great because it wouldn't take much for it to melt.

 The taste was different from Brie. It was similar but the mold was far less noticeable, overall it was a nutty and earthy flavor with musty hints of mushroom. The rind itself was softer than the Brie rind and wasn't as firm. I decided to try it with the Brie favorite, a pear, but to my surprise it didn't go as well with it. It easily spread on a cracker and that was very tasty. It definitely melts in your mouth and I kept going back for more. Cutting it got tricky so use a long knife that will cut the entire length of the cheese.

Camembert had a good price of $2.25 for 4.5 oz. It was small but it's a specialty cheese as the flavor is so strong you won't need a lot of it anyway. I highly suggest Camembert for those Brie lovers out there. If you love Brie, then you'll ADORE Camembert. When compared to Brie, Camembert is softer, milder mold rind, and creamier with a stronger flavor. I give the Ile De France, Camembert a 9 out of 10, the only reasons it didn't get a perfect score was it can be difficult to cut and eat, and the simple fact is, you're still eating a mold rind. I'm glad they sell Camembert here in America because I would have no problem storming the beaches of Normandy to get this cheese, but that's just my two cents.

CHEESE FACT: Mozzarella is most consumed cheese in the world.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will check back with my next entry in this series!

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